Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Entries tagged with "jail"

Are They Idiots Or Are They Liars?

I wouldn’t be writing about Mesa twice in row if I didn’t think it was all noteworthy. This time, though, I’m a little less cynical. I refuse to believe the judges at Mesa City Court are anywhere near as simple-minded and unfair as some of the prosecutors there claim. To give you some background, if you are charged with misdemeanor DUI in Arizona and your BAC is between 0.08 and 0.15, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is one day with nine days suspended. If your BAC is between 0.15 and 0.20, it’s nine days with twenty-one days suspended. Any misdemeanor DUI in Arizona could theoretically result in 180 days in jail, but I’ve never seen it happen, heard about it happening, or even realistically considered that any prosecutor could … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, DUI, Prosecutors

Sucks Not Eating That Cake, Huh?

I covered a pretty amazing hearing recently. It wasn’t amazing because of anything I did. It was amazing because it perfectly showcased the disastrous impact of mandatory sentencing rules and a culture of punishment and cruelty not just on defendants, but on victims. The client was accused of taking money from a family trust. He was left out of it, but his cousins weren’t. He allegedly drained the trust using forged checks. At his first sentencing, the victims said how they weren’t going to get to go to college. He took their college fund, apparently, and now they had to take out student loans. At least one of them wanted to punish him with a long prison sentence. All of them wanted him to repay … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Prosecutors, Victim's Rights

DUI Home Detention

Arizona’s extreme DUI statute is A.R.S. § 28–1382. Subsection (D)(1) requires thirty consecutive days in jail for a DUI involving an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more but less than 0.20, and subsection (I) allows for all but nine of those to be suspended. For an alcohol concentration of 0.20 or more, the same subsections require forty-five consecutive days in jail and allow for all but fourteen days to be suspended. Depending on the court, you may be able to do home detention for some of your time. The relevant home detention statute is A.R.S. § 9-499.07. In 2011, Senate Bill 1200 made some substantial changes to the law. Here is what it changed regarding the eligibility requirements a prisoner must meet for the program: Notwithstanding section … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

Why The Work Never Ends

I started work today with the best intentions. I had a list of what I had to accomplish along with a realistic plan of attack. After I sat down and finished my first task, a call came in: CLIENT: A detective came to see me and I pled guilty ME: What? CLIENT: It’s an emergency. I pled guilty. ME: You mean you confessed? CLIENT: Yeah, I pled guilty. I told him all the other stuff I did. ME: Did you say you had a lawyer? CLIENT: No, I just talked to him. He read me my rights and stuff. ME: Why did you talk to him? CLIENT: I don’t know. We’re gonna need to add the new charges to the current plea. ME: What new charges are there going to be? CLIENT: It doesn’t matter, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

I Don’t

Forbes, and more recently Oliver Burkeman, have both discussed the important and interesting difference between “I don’t” and “I can’t” when it comes to breaking bad habits. They note that studies have actually shown that saying something like “I can’t eat that extra cookie” is far less effective at preventing you from eating that extra cookie than saying “I don’t eat extra cookies.” It works in all kinds of other areas too, apparently. Although both articles talk about why that is, each explaining in different ways how “I don’t” is a choice while “I can’t” is a restriction, neither touches on a potential deeper reason for the difference or explores its broader implications. Consider the implications about who the “you” is in the statement when you’re saying “I … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

They Just Want Your Money

On Monday, I got to hear an elderly gentleman get sentenced for a first-time super extreme DUI (one where his blood alcohol concentration was over 0.20%) as I waited for the court to call my client’s case. He was so nervous he was shaking, and at one point, he begged the judge to not send him to jail. She told him something about how she would have to send her own brother for jail for that charge because the legislature set a mandatory minimum sentence. She also added a little comment about seeing people with a third of his BAC being involved in fatal collisions. How that could be the case seeing how she’s a misdemeanor court judge and doesn’t seem the type to go to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Government Rants

The Shame of Doing Wrong

If you’re ashamed of what you’re doing, maybe you should reconsider doing it. It seems simple enough, right? I frequently deal with people who have serious substance abuse and mental health issues. They are usually fairly aware of their problems. Although many are incapable of fixing them, I see complete denial less often than I would have expected before I began practicing law. The shameful rock bottom moment, typically the moment that led to them needing my services, is the sort of thing that makes most of them shudder. The embarrassment can help commit them to change, but it can also depress them, leading right back onto the destructive path that caused the problem in the first place. Whether awareness of the need to change … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors

Trusting Judges

For most felony offenses in Arizona, a person sentenced to a term of probation can be ordered to serve up to a year in the county jail. When prosecutors intend to seek jail time as a condition of probation, they usually say so up front. If it’s a guarantee, the plea will say “defendant shall serve…” before describing the amount of time, whether it’s a deferred term, and whether the defendant gets credit for time served. In other instances where jail is possible, the plea will say “the state anticipates requesting an initial jail term” or something along those lines. Occasionally, the prosecutor changes his or her mind between plea and sentencing. They will also say so if that’s the case. Other times, the probation department’s presentence report … Read entire article »

Filed under: Judges

The Way They Think

I know a lot of nice prosecutors. I know prosecutors who care about justice. A few of them care about people too. Unfortunately, some of the other prosecutors I know don’t care much about anything except for hurting criminal defendants. The legislature gives them permission to ruin lives, and they relish the opportunity. One of my clients is charged with first-time DUI, and she has a very long history of medical problems. She’s had five back surgeries in the time I’ve represented her. She has to take special precautions just to make it through a day of work, and she sees doctors pretty much constantly. Spending a lot of time in jail would be disastrous for her health. I obtained documentation from medical … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Prosecutors

DUI, What Should Be a Lesser Included Offense, and a Common Trial Defense

I previously wrote about the fact that, in Arizona, you do not have to be driving to get a DUI. I’ve also written quite a few times in the past about lesser-included offenses and Arizona courts’ unwillingness to give juries the option of finding defendants guilty of less serious but potentially more appropriate offenses at trial. A fairly old opinion from the Court of Appeals of Arizona, Division One, combines those two things in a way that might be pretty amusing if it weren’t so scary. In the opinion, the court said that aggravated DUI, which means DUI with a suspended license, does not contain the lesser offense of driving on a suspended license. The court’s reasoning was that aggravated DUI does not require proof of actual driving … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

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