» Arizona Statutes

Another Irritating Non-Lesser Included Offense

Felony flight isn’t the only crime with an irritating non-lesser included offense. In State v. Malloy, the Supreme Court of Arizona decided criminal trespass was not a lesser included offense of burglary. Burglary requires entering or remaining unlawfully with the intent to commit any theft or a felony, and criminal trespass just requires knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully. Although criminal trespass does contain the additional element “knowingly,” the Court in Malloy noted that “knowledge in the sense that the criminal act must have been voluntary” is implicit in all criminal offenses. However, the Court thought the word knowingly in the criminal trespass statute “must have some additional meaning” and decided that, in order to convict someone of criminal trespass, “the prosecution must prove not only that the defendant … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes

An Irritating Non-Lesser Included Offense

I recently discussed lesser included offenses. Although Arizona’s practice of looking to the statute instead of the facts is frustrating enough in principle alone, there are some instances where I am particularly bothered by what a defendant can’t get as a lesser included offense. One instance involves felony flight. In an unpublished decision released this past September, Arizona’s Division One Court of Appeals looked at whether someone accused of felony flight could request a lesser included instruction for failure to stop. The felony flight statute applies to a driver who wilfully flees or attempts to elude a police vehicle with lights and sirens, and the failure to stop statute applies to a driver who knowingly fails or refuses to bring his or her vehicle to a stop after … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes

Can't Make Out Your VIN?

If your answer to that question is “yes,” there’s a chance your vehicle is going to become property of the State of Arizona at some point in the future. A.R.S. § 28-4594(A) provides that when the VIN of a vehicle or of a major component of a vehicle has been removed, defaced, altered or destroyed without the permission the Arizona Department of Transportation, the vehicle is contraband. If the state decides your vehicle is contraband, it can seize and destroy it. That might mean that every vehicle with a non-manufacturer or out-of-state VIN on any major component could be seized when driven or ridden through Arizona. When a new VIN is attached by another state to any major part of a recovered vehicle, that vehicle might be forever … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes

Is the Town of Gilbert in the Business of Stealing Cars?

If you are caught driving and have a revoked or suspended driver’s license, Gilbert will impound your car. The same is true if you never had a driver’s license, if you are arrested for Extreme DUI or Aggravated DUI, if you are under the legal drinking age and have any alcohol in your body, or if you are operating a vehicle without a certified ignition interlock device and you’re supposed to have one. Gilbert’s policy isn’t uncommon in Arizona. What is uncommon, at least as far as I can tell, is what Gilbert does after it takes your car. Take a second and read this. To me, it sounds like all you have to do to get your car back is show up on the 30th day, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes, Government Rants

Felony Flight

In Arizona, a driver who “willfully flees” or “attempts to elude” a pursuing official law enforcement vehicle using an audible signal and lights is guilty of a class 5 felony. The only in-depth analysis of what “willfully flees” and “attempts to elude” mean came in a 1993 opinion from the Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division One. In State v. Fogarty, an officer tried to stop the defendant, who had been passing other traffic in a forty-miles-per-hour zone. The officer thought the defendant was going about fifty miles-per-hour and caught up with him at a red light. The light turned green, and the defendant drove ahead at about forty-five miles per hour. The officer turned on his flashing red lights, and after the defendant failed to stop … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes

No Current Registration

When an officer stops you and requests to see your registration, there are a number of possible outcomes. If you give the officer your registration and everything checks out, you’re obviously okay. On the other hand, if you do not have proof of registration because the car is not registered, you will owe hundreds of dollars. If you don’t have your registration in the vehicle but it is registered, you will likely owe well over a hundred dollars even if you provide the court with proof of registration. Although I personally think it’s absurd to fine someone for not having proof of something an officer could easily look up, the law is at least logical. You were obligated by law to carry something in your vehicle, and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes, Government Rants


People often call me to see if I can “expunge” an old criminal conviction for them. In Arizona, it’s called “setting aside” a conviction, and it’s a fairly simple process in most cases. Interestingly, it’s usually more difficult to seal a record of an arrest than it is to set aside a conviction. The only statutory provision on point merely permits a court to enter on the record that the person has been cleared and order that law enforcement agencies and courts no longer release the record. It seems a little strange to me that it takes more work to to seal a wrongful arrest than it does to set aside a rightful conviction. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes

Arizona's Unusual Statute of Limitations

Although Arizona courts have on multiple occasions explained that statutes of limitations are to be construed liberally in favor of the accused and against the prosecution, in practice, that doesn’t make an awful lot of difference. According to at least one Arizona court, our criminal statute of limitations is explicit. Unlike most states’ statutes of limitations, which begin running at the time of the offense, it doesn’t begin to run until the state actually discovers or should have discovered the offense. The law allows some serious injustice to take place as long as it isn’t the state’s fault. A victim can wait as long as he or she pleases before going to authorities, and as long as there’s no reason the state should have known earlier, charges can … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes, Procedural Rules

Arizona's Most Irritating Statute?

There are a number of laws in Arizona that bother me, but the one that most consistently makes me shake my head in disgust is A.R.S. 13-1207. It provides that an inmate who “commits assault upon another person with the intent to to incite riot or who participates in a riot is guilty of a class 2 felony.” It’s a serious charge, so it seems like the statute should be pretty well written. Unfortunately, it isn’t. Although making it a class 2 felony seems excessive, I think I have a good grasp of what constitutes an assault with intent to incite riot. On the other hand, I have no clue what participating in a riot means, and the legislature and the courts haven’t provided any helpful definitions. Is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes

Classes of DUI

A DUI can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. For your run-of-the-mill first DUI, whether you have a blood alcohol concentration just over the legal limit or a blood alcohol concentration three times the legal limit, although the mandatory jail sentences differ, the charge will be a class 1 misdemeanor. However, a regular DUI can become a felony and be considered “aggravated” if, among other things, you had a suspended license, two prior DUIs in the past seven years, or a person under fifteen years of age in the car. A DUI that’s aggravated because of a suspended license or two prior DUIs in the past seven years is a class 4 felony, and a DUI that’s aggravated because there was a child in the car … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes, DUI

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