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Too Good to Last

You may remember an old post about whether you can get a DUI in a car that doesn’t work. The issue came down to “actual physical control.” That’s because you don’t have to drive to get a DUI in Arizona; you just have to have actual physical control of a vehicle. When Arizona’s Court of Appeals, Division Two came out with a related opinion in State v. Zaragoza, I put up another post about actual control. I was pretty negative about whether the opinion would make a difference. It turns out I was right to be negative, but for the wrong reasons. This summer, the Supreme Court of Arizona vacated the opinion of the Court of Appeals. In Zaragoza, the defendant staggered to his car and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, DUI

The Motorcycle That Could Not Be

I recently finished working on a pro bono forfeiture case. The short story is that a guy puts a new engine and forks on a 1970s Harley Davidson in California in 1991. He registers it in California, and they give it a new VIN because the new motor serial number doesn’t match the frame. This is a common practice for motorcycles. My client enters the picture in 1992 or 1993, when he buys the motorcycle. He registers it in California and operates it for years with no issues. He moves to Massachusetts and registers it with no problem. In 2004, he moves to Arizona to be closer to his children and grandchildren. When he takes the bike to the Arizona MVD in 2007 (he didn’t … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes, Bikers' Rights

Thoughts on Work-Life Balance

I’ve mostly avoided blogging about work-life balance up to now. I usually have nothing intelligent to say on the subject, as my idea of balance generally consists of letting the pendulum swing. If it swings too far to one side, it’ll swing back to the other with a vengeance. I keep that in mind and try to avoid letting it swing too far to one side or the other, though I’ve encountered varying degrees of success in my quest to strike the perfect balance. These past few weeks haven’t been my most successful. I recently lost Dakota, my five-year-old German Shepherd, to chronic renal failure. I took her to the vet a few weeks ago because she was limping and seemed in pain. They … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General, Solo Practice

The Best Sales Pitch Ever

One of the greatest joys of owning a small firm is getting to know the friendly folks at LexisNexis and Westlaw. They often call to see how I’m doing or drop by to say hello, and they never forget to keep me abreast of the latest products from their companies. I was talking with a friend yesterday, and somehow Lawyers.com came up. Suddenly, I remembered a fantastic sales pitch I got several months ago from my local LexisNexis representative. He was trying to convince me to pay LexisNexis, which owns Lawyers.com and martindale.com, to list my firm on those sites and do the website and search engine optimization for my firm. Admittedly, I was a little hard on him. I asked him some tough questions about why … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Wasting Tax Dollars

I currently represent a client charged with possession of marijuana. By itself, that’s not unusual. What is unusual, however, is that the state claims he had weed in prison. He just finished serving his 18th year, and he’s got a little over 56 years left to go. He’s middle-aged. Why would the state choose to prosecute such a case? What else can they do to him? He’s going to enjoy his field trips to court. If he goes to trial, it’s going to feel good to wear street clothes and take the restraints off, even if it’s just for a little while. What kind of plea is a “lifer” going to want to take? The prosecutor knows all of this because I told … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Prosecutors

Switching Attorneys

I don’t like taking over cases from other lawyers. In a perfect world, I would begin representing every client before charges are filed and stay with the case to the very end. That said, like pretty much every other lawyer I know, a good-sized portion of my clients come to me from other criminal defense attorneys. They seem to be split evenly between people previously represented by public defenders and people previously represented by private attorneys. They’re usually looking for a new lawyer for the same kinds of reasons. I hear many people say they want a new lawyer because their lawyer does not return their calls. I usually take that statement with a grain of salt. A lot of lawyers don’t return calls … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Practice in General

I Probably Take Myself Too Seriously

In one court, I regularly run into a lawyer who amuses me to no end. He’s a big, boisterous guy with thick gray hair and a deep, booming voice. His general demeanor reminds me of the ghost of Christmas present from the Muppet Christmas Carol. He always wears loud ties, most of which I believe feature some minor Disney character, and he only partially tucks his baggy dress shirts into what I suspect to be a pair of Dickies work pants. It isn’t uncommon for him to wear a jean shirt to court, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wear a belt. None of that really sets him apart from a lot of other lawyers though. What really separates him from the rest … Read entire article »

Filed under: lawyers, Practice in General

What BigLaw Taught Me

I’ve recently had a few opportunities to interact with BigLaw. I was fortunate enough to see a few honest-to-goodness BigLaw lawyers work their magic in an initial consultation, and I even got to experience, through a client, the type of service BigLaw provides. Being the unselfish guy I am, I am going to share with you the five essential lessons I learned watching BigLaw. Follow these, and you’ll be representing clients like BigLaw in no time flat. 1) Don’t Answer Your Phone That’s right, don’t even think about picking it up. This rule doesn’t just apply to famous partners with national reputations, but also to junior associates. Lawyers may know that you don’t go to court very often, if at all, but your clients don’t. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General

"This Is Real"

I recently left the country to attend my sister’s wedding. That’s why I didn’t put up a post last week. It was actually the longest I’ve gone without putting in a full day of work since Adrian and I started the firm, and yesterday was my first full day back. Yesterday morning, I had what I consider to be an extremely important hearing. Although I wasn’t away from work for a particularly long time, it was long enough to make some of the feelings I get before big hearings or trials seem slightly foreign. The hour-long commute to court gave me plenty of time to think about what I was feeling. The thrill of going into court and making an argument you believe in on behalf of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General

Arizona DUI Stupidity

Imagine you’re sitting in the comfort of your own home, enjoying a glass of fine single barrel Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. It’s about midnight, and you’re on your third or fourth when you hear the back window of your home shatter. You can hear that someone is trying to break into the house, and you run to call 911. As you frantically rush through the house, you see someone breaking in through the front window as well. You have no time to think, and not knowing what else to do, you swing open the door leading to your garage and jump in your car. You lock your doors, fire up the engine, open the automatic garage door, and speed off while calling the police. Congratulations, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes, DUI

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