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Scottsdale Criminal Law Blog

College athlete arrested for drunk driving

It can often seem to some people in Arizona that the media and the general public is quick to believe that a person accused of a criminal offense is guilty. When it comes to driving under the influence offenses, there is a strong stereotype that incorrectly allows too many people to assume anyone arrested for these types of charges are irresponsible and reckless individuals. That is simply not true.

Many responsible people find themselves facing drunk driving charges and a variety of factors may play into these situations. One example of this may be seen in the case of a young man who is a student and athlete at the University of Arizona. According to Tucson.com, the student was arrested and charged with super extreme DUI this summer. The defendant has yet to be convicted or have his case heard in court but his teammates and coach are standing firmly beside him.

Felony drunk driving carries stiff penalties in Arizona

Whether you are looking forward to a rowdy football game at the University of Arizona, a boisterous Halloween party at a friend's house or just a fun get-together with your craziest co-workers at a local pub, you are probably including alcohol in your plans. Having a few drinks can make the party even more enjoyable, help you relax and allow you to let down your inhibitions.

The problem with alcohol is that it also leads to bad decisions. You probably have vivid — or hazy — memories of drinking too much and doing things for which you were embarrassed or regretful. Among those may be getting behind the wheel of the car. If you have previous DUIs on your record, your next arrest may increase your chances of serious ramifications.

Eyewitness identification and the human memory

Contrary to what some may think, not everyone sitting behind bars is guilty of committing a crime. In fact, a number of people have been exonerated from their prison sentences after DNA proved their innocence. According to the Innocence Project, 362 people have been released from jail after serving years, sometimes decades, behind bars for a crime they did not commit. In more than 70 percent of these cases, eyewitness misidentification played a role in the wrongful conviction of an innocent person. There are several reasons why eyewitness identification is not a reliable form of evidence when used in a criminal case.

The human memory and its limitations is one reason why eyewitness identification cannot be trusted. When the brain is under severe stress, it is often unable to remember key details in a situation. Other factors include the following:

  • The amount of time that has passed from when the incident occurred
  • Whether the perpetrator is a different race than the witness
  • Environmental factors, such as lighting and location of the witness in regard to the perpetrator
  • Whether a weapon was used in the crime

State sees increase in reports of assult

Most people in Arizona, just like their counterparts around the country, have watched, read or listened to some of the activities surrounding the allegations of sexual abuse by a woman against the recent nominee to the United States Supreme Court. These allegations have made headlines on the heels of a year-long "Me Too" movement and the sentencing of a famous entertainer who was once revered as a great father figure to many in the country. 

Sexual assault, rape or any other type of violent crime involving sexual activity are indeed serious matters and anyone who has experienced these events deserves proper help. At the same time, the people accused of these grave crimes also deserve fair treatment. It is essential that those accused and the public in general always remember that an allegation does not prove anything just like an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. Every defendant is and should be presumed innocent until or unless they are eventually proven guilty.

The facts on fair use and copyright law

Copyright law protects the intellectual property of individuals and businesses so that they can make profits off their video, audio or textual products. However, there are instances where an outside party can use part of another person's intellectual property for authorized purposes, otherwise known as fair use. Arizona residents may wonder, however, how far fair use goes, as courts will not always accept a fair use argument.

First, note that a full reproduction of intellectual property is not permitted under fair use. According to FindLaw, fair use allows for reproductions of portions of an intellectual work, but not for the whole work. So for instance, copying and redistributing an entire work of fiction or a manual owned by a corporation will likely get you in legal trouble under copyright law.

Do you really know what BAC means?

Authorities and even procedural cop television shows throw around certain phrases when talking about crimes. When it comes to drunk driving, you may commonly hear people refer to the number of drinks consumed, impairment, blood alcohol concentration and several other phrases. However, what do they really mean?

While you may not have much casual interest in knowing what BAC really means, you may find yourself in need of knowing should an officer accuse you of driving under the influence. In that case, you will need all the information you can get in order to create a meaningful defense against the charges you face.

Legality of medical hashish in dispute

People who live in Arizona know that theirs is not one of the states that has yet to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. However, for eight years now the state has allowed the legal use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Despite this legalization of medical pot, a dispute about what forms of the drug can be used is making its way to the State Supreme Court.

As explained by Tucson.com, there is a divide between what state law says and what state health officials say when it comes to the use of medical marijuana. The law that passed in 2010 making it legal for people to use pot medically provided the right for patients to receive up to 2.5 ounces of the drug every other week. All purchases are required to be made from a dispensary approved by the state.

Are there better alternatives to jail time?

The state of Arizona frequently ranks among the strictest states for the enforcement of drunk driving laws. Arizona also has a reputation for dealing harshly with those convicted of drug crimes. This may explain why the American Civil Liberties Union recently reported that Arizona has the fourth highest rate of incarcerated people in the country.

If you are facing DUI or drug charges, you may feel the odds are against you. The goal of prosecutors is to obtain convictions for such charges, and a strong criminal defense may be in your best interests.

Understanding protective orders

People in Arizona who may be accused of domestic violence might end up finding themselves the subject of an Order of Protection. It is important to understand exactly what this might mean and what such an order cannot do. 

As explained by the Judicial Branch of Arizona, Maricopa County Superior Court, a protective order is not a criminal order but a civil one. It is issued by a judge and generally remains in effect for 12 months. A person might be able to obtain such an order against someone based in part on the current or past relationship between the two people. For example, such an order is not likely to be granted if the two people involved were platonic friends. But, if the two parties had been in a romantic relationship, such an order might be possible.

Supreme Court ruling paves way for new trial

People in Arizona who are accused of serious crimes should always be able to trust that they will have the ability to fairly defend themselves. This is a basic tenet of and right granted by the legal and criminal justice system. This right manifests itself in many ways including the ability to appeal decisions to higher courts. In a current case, a recent decision handed down by the Arizona Supreme Court may offer one defendant a completely new trial.

As reported by Arizona Capitol Times, the case involves a woman accused of kidnapping and child abuse. During her first trial, after which she was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison, the defendant was denied the ability to present some evidence. The evidence included photos and medical records detailing serious domestic violence and even post traumatic stress disorder. The Superior Court judge did not allow the evidence because Arizona law does not recognize battered woman syndrome as a defense.

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