Articles Posted in Criminal Law

In a December 2023 case before an Arizona court of appeals, the defendant asked for a reconsideration of the lower court’s sentencing decision in her child abuse case. She was originally charged with and convicted of negligent child abuse, and she asked the higher court to conduct a review of the record, to ensure the lower court arrived at the verdict and resulting sentence fairly. Finding no fundamental error in the trial court’s record, the court of appeals affirmed.

Facts of the Case

This case revolved around a 2011 incident in which the defendant and her husband mistreated a ten-year old girl that was living with them at the time. According to the opinion, the couple subjected the girl to cruel punishment by making her remain in a backbend position for at least one hour after she took a popsicle without permission. They then locked the girl inside a storage box in a room without any air conditioning, where she eventually died.

The defendant was convicted of many offenses, including first-degree murder, intentional child abuse, and negligent child abuse. She appealed the lower court’s sentencing decision on the negligent child abuse offense.

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The United States and Arizona Constitutions each provide the citizens of Arizona with many important rights when they are charged with a crime. As a matter of constitutional law, the protections provided by federal law act as a floor, meaning that states cannot offer their citizens fewer rights. However, states can choose to provide citizens with additional rights through a state statute or constitution.

In the case of the right to a jury trial, the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that “the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.” Since the ratification of the Bill of Rights, this has been interpreted to mean all defendants facing charges of “serious” crimes.

Many states have abolished the distinction between serious and non-serious crimes when it comes to the right to a jury trial, and they allow for all defendants to demand a jury trial, regardless of the seriousness of the charge that they are facing. However, while Arizona state law provides some additional protections for criminal defendants, state law does not allow jury trials for all defendants.

Field sobriety tests are usually a pretext to a DUI arrest. There may have been an error in the way the arresting officer administered the test, or the test itself may be subject to attack. One thing to watch for is the external factors that could have influenced the test.

Field sobriety tests and poor weather are a bad combination, because weather plays a role in how well a driver performs a test. In Phoenix, AZ attorney James Novak examines all the factors involved in your arrest, and develops a defense that fits the specific facts of your case.

In cases with field sobriety tests and poor weather, credible arguments can be made that the test result is unreliable. If the test result is not reliable, the arrest itself is called into question.

One of the most common ways for an officer to write a DUI ticket is by having a driver perform a field sobriety test. There are several kinds of tests, and there are also several circumstances that have an impact on a test result. Field sobriety tests on uneven ground can be cause for concern, because the result may be inaccurate.

Phoenix, AZ attorney James Novak offers effective DUI defense strategies for all types of DUI cases. If you are charged with DUI after having taken a field sobriety test on uneven ground, you should challenge the test results and the underlying charge of DUI.

Three Types of Tests

A DUI case is a serious matter, and deserves a serious defense. Drivers who are pulled over for DUI face possible loss of driving privileges, as well as other harsh consequences. Most arrests start with an initial traffic stop, followed by a field sobriety test. When field sobriety tests involve improper instruction, the defendant can make a case that the charges should be dropped.

Phoenix, AZ attorney James Novak has a proven track record for successful defense of DUI cases. Drivers should include improper instructions given during a field sobriety test as part of their defense to the DUI charges.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests

If you have recently been charged with a DUI in Phoenix, AZ, Attorney James Novak can challenge the blood evidence given by the prosecution. Improper handling and storage of a DUI blood test can be used in your defense, leading to suppression of evidence or even a complete dismissal of your charges.

There are several vulnerabilities regarding the collection and analysis of blood samples. These weaknesses can lead to the inaccuracy of the blood test results. Read on to learn more about DUI blood tests and improper storage of the sample.

Collection Tubes Used in DUI Blood Testing

A breathalyzer is one of the most common ways to test for intoxication. However, these tests are not always accurate. There are numerous factors that can contribute to a false reading, but residual alcohol is one of the most frequent. Alcohol can remain in your mouth, even if it has not been absorbed into your blood stream. Further, some foods and drinks contain trace amounts of alcohol. Though not enough to be felt, the alcohol that remains in your mouth may affect the results of a DUI breath test.

James Novak is an experienced DUI defense attorney in the Phoenix, AZ area. He has successfully defended those who are facing serious charges of drunk driving. Often, he can get the charges lessened or dropped entirely. Understanding the fluctuations and unreliability of breathalyzer tests, he may be able to find highly convincing evidence to clear your name and restore justice on your behalf.

What Causes Faulty Breathalyzer Results?

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol has been proven to impair decision-making, slow reaction times, and increase the risk of an auto accident. With all the risks associated with DUI, it is understandable that this crime carries harsh penalties. Unfortunately, some drivers are unjustly prosecuted or given overly strict sentences, largely due to inaccurate chemical testing. Those who have been arrested for DUI should contact an experienced DUI defense attorney, such as James Novak, to ensure their rights are protected throughout the criminal proceedings.

A DUI blood test measures the concentration of alcohol in the blood to show how inebriated the subject is at the time of arrest. Chemical BAC tests are often the strongest piece of evidence in a DUI case. Blood tests are known to be the most accurate form of DUI testing. However, errors or inaccurate readings can occur. Here, we compare the two techniques for DUI blood tests – whole blood vs. serum testing, and discuss how our Phoenix, AZ clients’ results may be affected by the type of testing that was used during their arrest.

Whole Blood Testing

Police officers often rely on DUI breath test devices, most commonly a Breathalyzer test, to determine if someone is driving while under the influence. However, a DUI breath test only provides an estimate of blood alcohol concentration and may be challenged in a court of law. There are many factors that can affect the results of a Breathalyzer test. One significant factor is the flow of breath itself.

Let's take a moment to consider Breathalyzer results and the flow of breath in DUI cases. To learn more about your legal rights regarding Breathalyzer results and the flow of breath, contact the law offices of James Novak in Phoenix, AZ.

About Breath Alcohol Tests

Police officers are responsible for stopping drunk drivers. One way police officers determine if someone is driving under the influence is through the use of a DUI breath test. Many people do not realize that they can decline to take a DUI breath test in favor of the more accurate blood test.

However, even DUI blood tests can be inaccurate. In fact, certain herbal supplements can affect the results of these tests. Find out more as we take a closer look at herbal supplements and DUI blood tests. If you have been charged with a DUI, contact our Phoenix, AZ office to learn more about your legal rights.

DUI Breath Test vs. DUI Blood Test

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