Criminal / DUI Defense
Why use us?
Who are our clients? Ben answered this way: An old partner of mine asked me just prior to opening a new office several years ago, “What do your clients look like?” He had never practiced criminal defense and did not know who would walk through the door. He only knew what happened in the newspapers or on TV, which offers a very limited perspective. I told him to “Take a look in the mirror… it could be you someday.” He came to find out our clients were just people. To his surprise, many were professionals, some were celebrities, a number, of course, were kids and the rest were hardworking regular everyday folks who got in a little trouble. Friendships were made with many that last to this day. It would be remarkable for any one of us to say we haven’t done something stupid once or twice in our lifetime. The problem is you are more likely to be cited or charged for a minor lapse in judgment. Hiring a private attorney can level the playing field, and that is what I try to do.
Clients Who Do Not Reside in Arizona
We have represented many clients from out of state who have found themselves in need of representation here in Arizona. For most misdemeanor cases, we can waive a client’s appearance saving not only travel time and costs but time away from family and work. Many Courts in various cities and counties work with our firm and allow our clients to return home while their case is pending. Courts can rely on our appearance and the reliable information we provide. In some instances, cases can be resolved with a client never stepping foot back into Arizona.
All Counties and Cities
We have represented clients in many cities and towns across Arizona and in every county. We maintain good working relationships with many Courts across Arizona that allows our appearance under many different circumstances.
Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Charge
The number one question during a consultation with someone charged with a crime is, “How is this going to affect my job?” The collateral consequences, such as losing a job, scholarship, driver’s license or professional license as the result of a criminal charge, are what many are concerned about these days. These are legitimate and important questions that should be considered before a final resolution of a case is contemplated.
For those who hold professional licenses, it is important to understand what the collateral consequences may be if you are cited or charged with a crime and/or later convicted. We have represented, in no particular order, teachers, accountants, doctors, lawyers, dentists, nurses, chiropractors, real estate brokers and salespersons, pilots, insurance agents, bankers, health professionals, massage therapists – just to name a few. We have represented someone in virtually every field where a license is issued by the State of Arizona. There are also situations where an employment contract or a particular company policy needs to be reviewed. There are reporting requirements for some of these professionals even if just cited or charged (for example; doctors, dentists, nurses, and chiropractors have to report to their respective boards within ten (10) days of being cited or charged with a crime). Some of the occupations require fingerprinting which is regulated by the Board of Fingerprinting. A charge(s) listed under the various sections of A.R.S. § 41-1758 (relating to fingerprint cards) may call for the suspension or revocation of such card. It is important to understand what the professional or work-related consequences may be for a client before resolving the criminal aspects of a case. In some cases, unfortunate consequences cannot be avoided, but it is important to know and understand such issues.
When you come in for a consultation with our firm it is important to advise us of your work and professional status so that we may analyze these issues as well in the context of your criminal case.
Arizona’s criminal code (A.R.S. Title 13) and traffic code (A.R.S Title 28) outline hundreds of criminal violations. This does not include the various city codes and ordinances that criminalize certain behavior or actions. Additionally, not realizing you violated one of these statutes is not a defense. Ben has handled cases in virtually every area of the criminal and traffic codes as well as many violations alleged from the various city codes. No matter what the charge, we can represent you.
A very important note – in criminal law, a person has the right to not incriminate him or herself and has a right to counsel. You can choose your counsel and that’s why you should consult with the firm as soon as possible. Some cases are not charged right away but you may need to assert your rights immediately. We can assist in communication and
Clients have been successfully defended for felonies and misdemeanors, including but not limited to:
Fraud/White Collar Crimes
Game & Fish Violations
Interfering with Judicial Proceedings
Select Sexual-related allegations
Any and all Title 4, 13 or 28 violations
Ben is a member of the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. and dedicates a majority of his practice to the defense of those accused of DUI-related offenses. DUI charges do not arise solely from drinking alcohol. Many DUI charges today involve allegations of impairment from drug use, and many involve marijuana use even when prescribed in accordance with the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be impaired by the drug to be charged and convicted. Only a metabolite of the drug in your system may be enough to secure a conviction. Hurting or killing someone in a DUI-related accident can result in major felony charges requiring mandatory prison. Ben has worked on virtually every type of DUI-related charge and many different circumstances. He has the experience to know how to handle these cases.
MERE DRINKING AND DRIVING IS NOT ILLEGAL
Again, it is not illegal to drink alcohol and drive in Arizona. It is illegal to drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while either impaired by alcohol, over the legal blood alcohol limits or with drugs in your system. Here are examples of the most common DUI charges, elements of these offenses and potential penalties:
1. Non-extreme DUI
Drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while:
(a) impaired to the slightest degree by alcohol or drugs – A.R.S. § 28-1381(A)(1) (one is presumed impaired with a blood alcohol level above a .08, between .05 and .08 there is no presumption and below .05 one is presumed not impaired);
(b) having an alcohol concentration of .08 or higher within 2 hours of driving – A.R.S. § 28-1381(A)(2);
(c) having any illegal drug or metabolite of an illegal drug – A.R.S. § 28-1381(A)(3).
- These charges are all class 1 misdemeanors.
- Each charge carries a mandatory 10-day jail term of which 9 days can be suspended with the completion of alcohol counseling, fines of approximately $1750, jail costs, a license suspension of 90 days (30/60) and an ignition interlock for 12 months (possibly reduced by 6 months).
2. Extreme DUI
Drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while having a blood-alcohol level above a .15 within 2 hours of driving.
- This charge is a class 1 misdemeanor.
- This charge carries a mandatory 30-day jail sentence (suspension of the jail sentence by 20% is possible with alcohol counseling, fines of $3,170, jail costs, a license suspension of 90 days (30/60) and an ignition interlock for 12 months).
3. Super Extreme DUI
Drive or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while having a blood-alcohol level above a .20 within 2 hours of driving.
- Super Extreme DUI requires a 45-day jail sentence with the similar conditions as Extreme DUI.
4. Misdemeanor v. Felony
The above-mentioned misdemeanor DUI charges can be filed as felony charges if the person:
(a) is driving on a suspended, revoked or restricted driver’s license for a prior DUI or any other reason;
(b) has two prior DUI convictions within 7 years of the date of the current arrest; or
(c) commits any of the DUI charges while a person 15 years of age or younger is in the vehicle.
- DUI with a license suspension or with two prior DUI charges is a class 4 felony requiring a minimum of 4 months in prison and a license revocation.
- DUI with a person under 15 years of age in the car is a class 6 felony that does not require prison but does require the mandatory minimum jail term for the underlying DUI and a revocation with a possibility of a special ignition interlock device after the first 3 months.
5. Juvenile and/or Underage Offenders
Juveniles and underage offenders can also be charged with the above offenses and many more alcohol or drug-related offenses. Most common is an Underage Drinking and Driving charge in violation of A.R.S. § 4-244(34). Underage drinking and driving require only proof of driving, or of being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle and having some alcohol in the body.
- This charge is a class 1 misdemeanor.
- There is no mandatory minimum jail term (6 months jail maximum).
- MVD will require a 2-year license suspension with a special ignition interlock device upon order of the Court.
6. Aggravated DUI
An Aggravated DUI under A.R.S.§ 28-1383 is a Class 4 felony and carries heavy penalties. Any of the following facts can result in a charge of aggravated DUI:
- DUI violation while on a suspended, canceled, revoked or restricted license
- Two prior DUI convictions within an 84-month period
- DUI while a person under the age of 15 is in the vehicle
- DUI while driving a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device
- DUI while driving the wrong way on a highway. (Added to the statute as of August 3, 2018.)
A license suspension proceeding with MVD accompanies most DUI-related charges. The suspension proceedings are independent of the actual criminal charge and MVD must be dealt with separately. Just because a DUI case may be dismissed or resolved to a charge other than DUI does not mean the license suspension proceeding will be vacated or dismissed. Ben has taken the time and has the experience to deal with the license suspension issues surrounding DUI and alcohol-related cases. Remember, just because you may not have been cited or charged with a DUI does not mean the officer has not served or turned in a license suspension (Admin Per Se/Implied Consent form). Please don’t hesitate to consult with Ben on such issues.