Author Archives: Gary Rohlwing
A misdemeanor charge is technically considered a “light” offense compared to a felony. However, no matter how light or insignificant you may think the offense is, a misdemeanor is still a crime that can call for serious penalties. In the US, a misdemeanor is a non-indictable criminal offense. This means that the offender cannot be detained for nearly as long as they could with an indictable offense. However, the offender can still face jail time for up to a maximum of 6 months with years of probation. Here’s what you need to learn about misdemeanors and how they’re treated in Arizona: Classes of Misdemeanor in Arizona Misdemeanors are often referred to as petty or disorderly offenses. In Arizona, misdemeanor offenses fall under the following classifications: Class 1 Misdemeanor Class 1 Misdemeanors are considered the most serious level of misdemeanor. These offenses include: Assault resulting in injury Domestic violence Possession of marijuana and other drugs DUI (Driving Under Influence) Driving on a suspended license Prostitution Shoplifting or theft Disorderly conduct and criminal damage Class 2 Misdemeanors are offenses that cause less serious impact or damage: Assault with threats of injury Criminal trespassing (second degree) Criminal damage Reckless driving Class 3 Misdemeanors are the least severe disorderly offenses: Simple assault Criminal trespassing (third degree) Criminal speeding Loitering Failure to appear in court Penalties for Misdemeanors in Arizona The severity of the penalty will depend on the classification of the misdemeanor charge, and the specific type of offense committed. In Arizona, the sentence and penalties for the different classes of misdemeanor normally follow this guideline: Class 1 Misdemeanor Up to 6 months of jail time in local or county prison Up to $2,500 in fines and surcharges Up to 5 years of probation Class 2 Misdemeanor Up to 4 months of jail time in local or county prison Up to $750 in fines and surcharges Up to 2 years of probation Class 3 Misdemeanor Up to 1 month of jail time in local or county prison Up to $500 in fines and surcharges Up to 1 year of probation Special Conditions for Misdemeanors in Arizona Sometimes, a person who commits a misdemeanor can be charged with a more serious offense, such as a felony or a higher level of misdemeanor. This happens when certain “special” conditions or complexities are met. For example, an offender who was previously charged with two Class 1 misdemeanors and has committed another Class 1 misdemeanor can be charged with a felony offense due to the increased gravity of the offenses. Another example is when an offender who previously committed a Class 2 misdemeanor, commits another misdemeanor. This will more likely lead to a Class 1 sentence and penalty, depending on the gravity of the offense. The possession of illegal drugs may also call for additional penalties such as a higher fine or longer jail time. DUI charges may also be raised to a felony due to aggravating circumstances. How to Get … Continue reading
Arizona prosecutors file thousands of criminal cases every year. A lot of these cases involve assault allegations. An assault charge in Arizona may either be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the particular circumstances of the charge. Elements of Assault and Aggravated Assault The state recognizes 2 kinds of assault that don’t involve sexual elements. These are assault and aggravated assault. There are two things the prosecutor must establish to prove a crime of assault or aggravated assault: that the defendant committed the act (actus reus in Latin), and that he performed it with the necessary mind-set (mens rea). Actus reus refers to the physical action constituting a crime element. In an assault case, for instance, it may be a blow with a fist, pulling the trigger of a gun, or a stabbing motion. But, for the defendant to be guilty of the crime, the prosecution must first show that the defendant committed the crime with a guilty mind. Assault Except for very few situations, Arizona crimes mandate that the prosecution establish that the defendant committed the act with a certain degree of intent, knowledge, or recklessness. For instance, Arizona assault laws say that a person can be guilty of assault if he knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly caused another person to suffer a form of physical injury. A defendant who bumps into another person by accident will therefore not be guilty of assault. This is because while the other person may have sustained an injury because of the actions of the defendant, the latter did not act knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly. The criminal laws of Arizona don’t punish negligent behavior in general. Thus, even if the defendant proclaims his negligence in bumping into the victim, he would still not be found guilty of the charge. Aggravated Assault An aggravated assault in Arizona is similar to an assault charge, but with an additional proof supporting one or more specific facts. The following can elevate a criminal charge from assault to aggravated assault: The complainant sustained serious physical injury. There was use of a deadly weapon, which can be a felony. The defendant performed the alleged assault after gaining entry into the victim’s home with the intention to assault them. The defendant is at least 18 years old, and the alleged crime was performed against a person who is under 15 years old. The alleged crime was performed against a protected member of a class such as a prosecutor, police officer, teacher, or firefighter. Are You or Any of Your Loved Ones Facing an Assault Charge in Arizona? If you or a loved one has been arrested for the crime of assault in Arizona, it is best to get in touch with a reputable attorney right away. This way, your rights as a defendant will be safeguarded. Your lawyer can also help you strategize your defense and get the best possible result for your case. Contact the Law Offices of Gary L Rohlwing for help. Atty. Rohlwing has successfully defended hundreds … Continue reading
Individuals who are arrested for a DUI in the state of Arizona are required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. This device requires regular maintenance and it can be quite costly. Hence, a lot of drivers want to know if they can avoid its installation after they are convicted for a DUI. Are Ignition Interlock Devices Really Required? Yes, they are really required. At present, drivers who are found guilty of a DUI are required to install the device in their vehicle. There are no exceptions for this. Anyone who is arrested and convicted of a DUI needs to do this, including those who were arrested because of taking medications or drugs. A lot of people think that such provision is not necessary. Nevertheless, it must be adhered to, even if you were only arrested because you had to take prescription medications. A DUI is considered a very big deal in Arizona. If you ever get arrested, you would be required to have the device installed in your vehicle for a year. Depending on your situation, you may request for a revision and/or removal of the device after six months. So, if you are hoping that you can avoid installing the device after a court has ordered you to do it, you’ll be disappointed. Arizona is strict when it comes to performing regular compliance checks. The authorities may carry out inspections without warning to find out if the drivers are indeed following the rules. If you are caught disobeying a court order to have the device installed, or even tampering with it, you could face serious consequences. Is It Ever Possible to Avoid Getting an Ignition Interlock Device? Not following court orders is never an option. However, is it ever legally possible to avoid installing the device? What if you promise the judge that you won’t drive your car for a year? According to the law, you need to have the device installed in your vehicle even if you promise not to use it for that year. In fact, you need to have the device installed in any vehicle that you drive, including rent-a-car-services. Simply making this kind of promise is not enough for you to avoid installing the device. After all, nobody can really guarantee the future. So, there is no way for you to tell that you will be able to refrain from driving for a year. Nevertheless, there is a single exception. You can drive a vehicle that does not have an ignition interlock device during an emergency situation, such as needing to go to the hospital. So, the answer to this question is also ‘yes’. It is possible to use a vehicle without an ignition interlock device if there is an emergency. Otherwise, you would get arrested if you operate any vehicle that does not have the device. You could even be banned from driving. Also, you may avoid installing the device if you are charged with a DUI after using drugs. According … Continue reading
The Arizona Supreme Court recently changed the defense of duress in criminal cases. The following is from “AZ Supreme Court Changes Criminal Defense of Duress” by Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services, August 24, 2018: https://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2018/08/24/az-supreme-court-changes-criminal-defense-of-duress/ A woman sentenced to 20 years in prison because of her role in keeping her three daughters locked up for three months in squalid conditions has had her case sent back to Pima County Superior Court Judge Paul Tang for a new trial. Sophie Richter wanted to present evidence that she acted under duress because she was too scared of her husband, the girls’ stepfather, to help them. Her evidence would have included a doctor’s testimony that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to her husband’s abuse and photographs of “numerous scars” she said were inflicted by him. Judge Tang refused to allow her to use duress as a defense because she was essentially claiming “battered woman syndrome,” where she would escape punishment by claiming she was so abused that she lacked the mental capacity to know she was committing a crime. That defense is not allowed in Arizona. Chief Justice Scott Bales noted that her claims were more specific than that: “For example, he said she believed that if she resisted she would either be seriously harmed or killed, or that her children would as well. And she submitted evidence of wounds and blood on her body that police documented on the day of her arrest. Bales said that evidence, if accepted by a jury, could show she was constantly in fear, providing a basis for her to argue she had no choice but to go along with what her husband demanded.” Bales said she had a story to tell that could convince a jury she acted under duress: “She sought to argue that her intentional illegal conduct was justified because she was compelled to abuse her children by the threat or use of immediate physical force against her or her children,” he wrote. More to the point, he said that threat need not be something that occurred at precisely the same time Sophia was committing the crime. “An ongoing threat of harm can be sufficiently immediate and present for purposes of a duress defense even when the threat precedes the illegal conduct by several days,” he said. Bales acknowledged that the threat needs to be more than “vague or undetailed.” But the justice said there was enough evidence to suggest she was under constant fear. “She stated that even when she went grocery shopping, she was accompanied by Fernando’s mother,” he noted, and Sophia was required to keep her cell phone on at all times “in order that he could tell her what was going on.” Then there were the wounds and blood police found. And Bales said Sophia would have presented evidence that when she stood up to Fernando on a family trip he threw her out of the hotel room by her hair. Bales said, though, that for Sophia to … Continue reading
Crowdfunding online may not be an option for you for several reasons. Perhaps you don’t need to raise that much money for your legal defense. Maybe you don’t want the invasion of privacy that comes with crowdfunding. You might not have a Facebook or other necessary social media accounts required for crowdfunding. Whatever your reasons, here are some offline ways to raise money for your legal defense: Credit cards: Many defense attorneys accept credit card payments. You may be able to open a new credit card account even if you have bad credit by googling “high limit unsecured credit cards”. Home equity line of credit: You can use an existing home equity line of credit or apply for a new home equity line of credit to help pay for your legal defense. Loans from relatives and friends: You probably have to swallow your pride in order to get loans from your relatives and friends. However, they are unlikely to charge you an exorbitant interest rate and may even give you money with no strings attached. Credit union personal line of credit or loan: You may be able to open a personal line of credit or get a personal loan through one of these credit unions in Maricopa County: MariSol Federal Credit Union; Arizona Federal Credit Union; Desert Financial Credit Union; SunWest Federal Credit Union; and TruWest Credit Union. Vehicle title loan: You may qualify for a vehicle title loan on a car, truck, SUV, RV, ATV, motorcycle, watercraft, or boat that you own even if you have bad credit or are still making payments. Google “vehicle title loans Maricopa County” to find a vehicle title loan company. Garage sale: If you have a lot of possessions, you may want to sell them in a garage sale. You could advertise it for free on Craigslist. Sell or get a loan on your jewelry or other upscale possessions: You may be able to sell or get a loan on your jewelry or other upscale possessions. Google “upscale pawn and loan Maricopa County” for businesses that do this. Find a part time job or side gig: This may be an option if you’re currently unemployed or retired, enjoy good or great physical and mental health, and don’t have children or other relatives needing daily care. If you’re stumped about where to begin, think about what you’ve enjoyed doing in the past, talk to friends and relatives about possible part time jobs or side gigs that might work for you, and do research on the internet. If you have been charged with a crime, you need an experienced defense attorney who charges a reasonable legal fee to defend you. Attorney Gary Rohlwing has over thirty years experience and charges reasonable legal fees. Please call him today for a free consultation.