Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

In a recent case before an appeals court in Arizona, the court affirmed a shorter sentence for a defendant with several mental impairments. The decision highlighted both the nature of the defendant’s crimes and the nature of his psychological evaluation, which both went into the trial court’s sentencing decision. Overall, the opinion serves as a reminder that while sentencing guidelines can be harsh for many defendants, there are also narrow circumstances in which sentences are amended for defendants under certain difficult conditions.

Facts of the Case

This case began when the defendant tried to use a fake $100 bill to pay at a local gas station. The attendant could immediately tell that the bill was fake and told the defendant that she would not be accepting the money. The defendant subsequently began yelling, and the attendant called the police. Even though the defendant had fled by the time the police arrived, the attendant offered a physical description to the officers.

That same day, the defendant went to another gas station and again tried to use a fake $100 bill. The employee recognized that the bill was fraudulent, told the defendant that he wouldn’t be accepting the money, and called the police once the defendant began hitting the window of the kiosk. The defendant fled, but again the attendant offered a physical description.

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Arizona prosecutions for domestic violence and sexual assault cases often hinge on whether the victim can have the suspect admit to criminal behavior while law enforcement is recording the interaction. A recent judicial opinion in Arizona sheds light on the use of these recorded “confrontation calls” in criminal cases, emphasizing the need for individuals to be aware of their rights during such encounters.

According to the facts discussed in the recently published judicial opinion, the defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress statements made during a confrontation call between the defendant and his stepdaughter organized by the Avondale Police Department. The defendant faced molestation charges involving his step-granddaughters, and the confrontation call with the victim’s mother became a pivotal point in the legal proceedings. The court’s decision centered on the admissibility of the defendant’s statements during the recorded call, addressing concerns of coercion and voluntariness.

A confrontation call is a strategy employed by law enforcement to obtain statements from a suspect through a recorded phone conversation. In Arizona, such calls can be recorded with the consent of just one party involved, providing a legal framework for their use. In the recent case, the confrontation call aimed to gather his perspective on the alleged incidents and assess the admissibility of his statements.

An Arizona appellate court’s July 2023 decision in an assault case highlights the importance of safeguarding the defendant’s right to remain silent during interrogation. In this case, the defendant was convicted of aggravated assault and endangerment. A police officer interrogated the defendant, and he declined to answer several of her questions. Later, after a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of the crimes. He promptly appealed, and the court reversed the conviction and remanded the case for a new trial.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was driving by his old apartment building when he saw an acquaintance walking on the sidewalk. The defendant and the acquaintance exchanged some words, and the defendant pulled out a gun and fired several shots at the acquaintance. Police arrived at the scene and arrested the defendant.

Officers took the defendant to the station, where they read him his Miranda rights and asked a series of questions. At several points during the 30-minute interview, the defendant stated that he wanted to “pass” on the question and avoid answering for the time being. The defendant’s case went to trial, and he was found guilty of aggravated assault and endangerment.

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In a recent case before an Arizona court of appeals, the defendant argued that his motion to dismiss should have been granted by the lower court. Apparently, the court had originally scheduled the defendant to come in for a hearing regarding alleged violations of the terms of his probation. Because of significant delays, however, the defendant argued that the lower court should have vacated the hearing altogether. Ultimately, the higher court disagreed with the defendant and denied the appeal.

Facts of the Case

Twelve years ago, the defendant in this case pled guilty to burglary, theft, and criminal damage. After the defendant’s guilty plea, the court sentenced the defendant to time in prison and placed him on a five-year probation term upon his release. During this probation period, the defendant ran into trouble when he was criminally charged with trespassing and refusing to leave his ex-girlfriend’s property. He was arrested again a year later for smuggling undocumented individuals into the U.S.

Given these charges, the State asked the court to revoke the defendant’s probation. The court scheduled a hearing to review the terms of the defendant’s probation, but the hearing did not actually happen until two years after the original hearing was scheduled. When the hearing finally occurred, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the hearing had been unreasonably delayed. The court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss, and he promptly appealed.

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In a recent case before an Arizona court of appeals, the defendant asked for a reversal of his guilty conviction of stalking. The defendant had been charged and convicted after a period of nine days during which he repeatedly showed up at the victim’s house and vandalized his property. When the defendant appealed, he argued that the victim was actually acting as an officer of the state when the defendant got arrested, and the lower court was wrong not to recognize this fact during the defendant’s trial. Looking at his appeal, the higher court disagreed and ended up affirming the original conviction.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant drove by the victim’s house several times over the course of nine days, each time slowing down to monitor what was happening on the property. The defendant also dumped trash in the yard and slashed the victim’s tires.

Tired of the stalking behavior, the victim decided to confront the defendant during a drive-by. The victim was a justice of the peace in a local Arizona county and therefore had a gun at his disposal, and when the defendant got out of his car and started moving towards the victim, the victim fired a shot to the ground as a warning. Within a few minutes, police officers were on the scene, and they arrested the defendant.

A jury found the defendant guilty of one count of stalking, and the court sentenced him to 1.5 years in prison. He appealed.

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In a recent case before an Arizona court of appeals, the defendant asked for his guilty conviction to be reversed because of an error committed by the trial court. Originally, the defendant was charged with and convicted of armed robbery. After his trial, the defendant asked for a reversal because, he argued, the lower court had failed to sufficiently inform him of his rights at several of his hearings. Ultimately, the court of appeals determined that while the lower court had failed to properly advise the defendant of certain rights, this fact did not warrant a reversal. The court kept the original conviction in place.

Facts of the Case

The defendant was arrested in connection with a series of incidents in which a man wearing a clown mask approached individuals, pointed a gun at them, and robbed them. After several months of this particular kind of armed robbery popping up throughout the area, investigators were able to link the defendant in this case to the crime. He was criminally charged, and his case headed for trial.

Before trial, the defendant went to court for several suppression hearings or hearings in which he tried to get certain incriminating evidence suppressed before the trial began. At these hearings, the defendant opted to represent himself, even though he was offered an attorney. He brought in several witnesses for each of the hearings, and his motions to suppress were denied at each hearing.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an Arizona DUI case, affirming the defendant’s conviction. The case illustrates the challenges of successfully litigating an appeal, as well as the importance of vigorously defending against all allegations at trial.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, a group of police officers was eating in a restaurant, when someone approached the officers, informing them that a motorist was committing traffic violations. One of the officers left the restaurant, got into his car, and witnessed the defendant run a red light.

The officer turned on his lights and sirens to conduct a traffic stop; however, the defendant did not stop. The defendant led the officer on a chase. According to the officer, the defendant committed “too many traffic violations to count.” When the defendant turned the wrong way down a one-way road, another officer put spike strips down in an attempt to disable the defendant’s vehicle. However, when the defendant saw the officer in the road, he swerved towards the officer. The officer jumped out of the way to avoid being hit.

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Under Arizona law, there is a general rule that a person who is charged with a crime can prevent their spouse from testifying against them. This is even the case if the other spouse wants to testify against the spouse who is charged with a crime. The rule, called the anti-marital fact privilege, or spousal privilege, has its roots in the common law and has been a part of Arizona law since the beginning of the state’s formation.

Arizona’s spousal privilege has a number of exceptions that can prevent its application. The most common exception is called the “crimes exception” and involves a situation in which one spouse is charged with a crime that was committed against the other spouse. A recent Arizona DUI case illustrates the crimes exception to Arizona’s spousal privilege statute.

The Facts

According to the court’s opinion, the defendant’s husband (Husband) called police because the defendant was trying to leave their home while she was intoxicated. Husband attempted to park one of the couple’s other vehicles behind the defendant’s minivan to prevent her from leaving, but the defendant got into the minivan and backed into the other vehicle. The defendant was later arrested and charged with DUI and causing criminal damage.

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The team at the Law Office of James Novak in Tempe believes that everyone deserves strong legal defense, no matter what charges they face. This is Constitutionally guaranteed to all citizens of the United States, and by mounting a strong legal defense, we help ensure that the system works for everyone.

The idea of a strong legal defense is important when a person is arrested for drunk driving. We would like to take a basic look at some common DUI defense strategies that can help drunk drivers in their time of legal need.

Focusing on the Circumstances of Your Drunk Driving Arrest

When you or someone that you care about is involved in a drunk driving arrest, it can be a very taxing time. This is why it's so important to seek legal assistance. DUI attorneys will provide you with strong counsel and peace of mind, helping you make sound decisions about all of your legal options. This will be especially crucial if the drunk driving arrest involves a motor vehicle collision or any kind of injury accident. Let's take a brief moment to consider these kinds of accidents right now.

Auto Accidents Caused by Drunk Driving

Drunk driving always has to be taken seriously. According to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, there were 31,263 drunk driving arrests in the state of Arizona in 2012. There were a total of 227 alcohol-related driving fatalities in that year.

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