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Scottsdale Criminal Law Blog

Reviewing firearm restrictions tied to restraining orders

When you are involved in a romantic or intimate relationship with another in Scottsdale, the proverbial line between love and hate can be razor thin. You may have already seen this yourself if you have been involved in an altercation with your partner. Like many of those that we here at the Ramos Law Firm have worked with in the past, you may have recently been blindsided by being served a restraining order following such an incident. While the restrictions that such orders place on the proximity that you must maintain with your partner are typically quite clear, the same may not be said on how such an order inhibits your right to own a firearm. 

It may be understandable why authorities would attempt to place gun ownership restrictions on those who have had protective or restraining orders filed against them. Even still, your right to own a firearm is constitutional (plus, are you not still considered innocent until being proven guilty?). Per section 13-3602 of Arizona's Revised Statutes, there are indeed limitations put on your right to own a gun if an order of protection is taken out against you. While the order is in effect, not only can you not own or possess a firearm, but you also must surrender any that you currently own, and you are barred from purchasing a new one. 

Understanding a restraining order

Discovering that one is in the center of a restraining order can certainly be frightening. For one, the incident itself may present gray areas, making them difficult to untangle; secondly, a restraining order can place a black mark on one's reputation. What do these types of orders mean, exactly, and how can Arizona residents deal with the process?

The website for the city of Phoenix provides a rundown of the state's protective orders and their regulations, stating that the key focus of this process is to restrain a person from committing harmful acts against another person or persons. While protective and restraining orders are close in definition, Arizona currently enforces two types of protective orders specifically: an Order of Protection and an Injunction Against Harassment. Orders of protection generally involve current or former spouses, a romantic or sexual partner or a relative or current spouse's relative. An injunction against harassment typically applies to individuals in the workplace. Because each situation can differ from the next, those going through this process may look to the city's website for further resources on these orders.

Understanding Arizona's self-defense laws

Discovering that one is in the center of a violent crime case can certainly be overwhelming. First, there is the incident itself: what exactly happened, and what versions of the story are reaching the spotlight? Then there comes the expected fear of a charge, which is often followed by the argument that the act was in self-defense. What happens when an Arizona defendant takes this stance?

As The Arizona Daily Star states, in Arizona, a self-defense claim can go a long way for many defendants. Using one 2013 incident as an example, The Star continues by noting that Arizona's "stand your ground" law can result in many complications when it comes to convicting a defendant with even minimal claims of self-defense. A 2006 state law does not require residents to retreat before using deadly force -- as long as they are not affiliated with a crime at the time of the incident. Formerly the defendant's burden to handle, prosecutors now frequently struggle to prove that the defendant was not justified in using such deadly force in self-defense. While some believe this law is successful, others criticize its loose standards for standing one's ground.

Arizona's DUI laws, explained

Facing a potential charge for driving under the influence can be a frightening time, needless to say. Arizona drivers currently going through these situations may be wondering how, exactly, the state's laws address DUI offenses. To best manage a tough predicament involving a possible DUI, it can benefit drivers to better understand Arizona's regulations. 

As The Arizona Republic shares, the state has little empathy when it comes to DUIs. A no-tolerance state, Arizona drivers could be subject to arrest if caught driving with a blood-alcohol content higher than 0.08 percent. There are three types of DUIs, with the least severe penalty resulting in 10 days' jail time and roughly $1,500 in fees; screening, counseling and an ignition interlock system are also requirements. Upon a second offense of a standard DUI, drivers could face 90 days behind bars, over $3,500 in fees, 30 hours' community service and other severe repercussions. The second tier, 'Extreme DUIs,' involve a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher, and come with much more severe penalties. The most serious type of DUI in the state, a 'Super Extreme DUI,' results in 180 days in jail, almost $5,000 in fees, 24 months of a required ignition interlock program and 30 months of community service. 

What to expect during field sobriety testing

You've likely seen movies and television programs that show or make fun of people pulled over by police for suspected DUI. Officers ask these individuals to get out of their vehicles and participate in field sobriety testing. If they fail the tests, they end up under arrest.

Police in Arizona do have the right to ask you to participate in field sobriety testing if they pull you over for suspected impairment. If you decide to comply -- yes, you have the option to refuse --, the officer will administer the three standard field sobriety tests.

What happens when one evades taxes?

Although tax season has come and gone, a plethora of schemes are already in the making for next year's forms. And while such crimes can be serious, they can have an equally severe effect on a person's reputation and overall quality of life. What happens when an Arizona resident escapes this mandatory process?

For one Arizona man, the repercussions were mountainous. AZCentral news reported that the Chandler businessman pleaded guilty to stealing $7.3 million from his clients' Social Security, Medicare and tax payments. The scheme spanned over a period of seven years, and was one of the largest tax evasion cases in the state. As for the plea agreement, the man must pay a restitution fee of the $7.3 million and provide the IRS with correct documentation for each of his clients. The Arizona resident also faced up to five years behind bars. 

What are Arizona's underage alcohol laws?

Most people are aware that under most circumstances, the consumption of alcoholic beverages by a person who is 20 years old or younger is against the law in Arizona. In fact, this is actually illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. However, that is not the only provision in the law surrounding alcohol and minors in Arizona. Having a broader understanding of what is and what is not legal is important for all people in the state, especially if they are accused of an offense related to minors and alcohol.

As explained by the Arizona State Legislature, any business that wishes to sell alcohol either for consumption on premises such as a restaurant or bar or in closed containers for consumption elsewhere such as at a supermarket must be appropriately licensed. It is not uncommon for many of these businesses to hire people who are under the age of 21. While this is legal, it is important that the nature of employment for minors meets the legal requirements.

What to do when you are served with a TRO

In Arizona, a temporary restraining order protects someone from being harmed by another. It is typically sought by victims of domestic abuse and bars an abuser from making contact or being within a certain distance of the protected persons. Unfortunately, it is also sometimes used as a weapon in a divorce or custody battle, either as a bargaining chip or means of punishment. If you have been served a TRO barring you from contact with your spouse, partner or children, the most important thing you can do is to take action.

A TRO is considered an extraordinary measure, according to The Free Dictionary, because it is ordered by a court without hearing from the subject of the order. You do not get to appear before a judge to tell your side, although you will later. A TRO goes against one's basic rights out of extreme caution in ensuring the safety and well-being of the complainant and any children.

National laws place restrictions on weapons

Many people choose to keep a weapon because it makes them feel safe or because they use firearms as part of recreational activities. Under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you have the right to bear arms. Of course, that does not mean that you can use a gun in an unlawful manner, which includes illegally possessing a firearm.

Numerous restrictions exist that work to regulate the use of firearms, the buying and selling of these weapons and ownership requirements. If authorities believe that you have used or possessed a firearm in an unlawful manner, you could face weapons charges that may have serious consequences in the event of a conviction.

Arizona has an extreme DUI? What's that?

When it comes to drinking and driving, Arizona is a zero tolerance state. That means that if an officer suspects that you are too impaired to drive, he or she may arrest you even if your blood alcohol concentration is below .08, which is the state's legal limit.

In addition, Arizona separates DUI charges into four categories with increasingly harsh penalties for each level. Those levels include standard, extreme, super extreme and aggravated (felony) DUI. Understanding what each level means and the penalties associated with each may prove useful.

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