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

In Other News, the Sky Is Blue and Marijuana Prohibition Is Bullshit

FourthAmendment.com put up a link yesterday to this New York Times story. Its title, “Blacks Are Singled Out for Marijuana Arrests, Data Suggests,” is news to exactly no one. Any perceptive human being who has set foot inside a criminal courthouse could also tell you the racial bias doesn’t end with the arrest. There are some other awful trends that quickly became apparent to me practicing criminal law in Arizona. I saw white defendants caught with marijuana for the first time get misdemeanor citations to appear in city or justice courts. Black defendants in the same position got felony charges in superior court. After charges, white defendants went through diversion, avoiding a conviction. Black defendants ended up pleading to misdemeanors. The second time around, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Introducing Arizona's Newest Criminal Defendant…

It’s me! My alleged crime? I’m charged with committing a class 2 misdemeanor in violation of A.R.S. 28-3480. If you’re too lazy to click on the link, it’s the law against operating a motor vehicle in violation of a driver license restriction. The restriction? My license, which expires in 2046 and which I received prior to undergoing eye surgery that left me with better-than-20/20-vision, supposedly restricts me from driving without corrective lenses or glasses. I’m facing four months of jail, two years of probation, and $750 in fines plus an 84% surcharge. The officer involved? One I’ve interviewed before in relation to a case. Coincidence? Who knows! Sometimes I wonder about my decision to live and work in this … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

The Coverage Dilemma

I do my best to personally attend every single hearing for every single client I represent. Every lawyer I respect does the same. Despite my best intentions, however, I admit I’ve had to ask for coverage. I’m sure I’ll have to do it again. Trials sometimes go longer than planned, and judges sometimes set things over my objection. Every judge thinks his or her orders are the most important. When a non-lawyer justice of the peace sets a misdemeanor pretrial opposite a felony jury trial that’s been docketed for five months, you can bet I’ll be sending another lawyer to do that pretrial. I’ll send someone I trust, but it won’t be me. Yesterday morning, the tables were turned when another lawyer asked me … Read entire article »

Filed under: lawyers, Practice in General

Senate Bill 1070

Everyone has an opinion about Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably love it or hate it. You may have a strong opinion about it even if you have no clue what it says. If so, you aren’t alone. S. B. 1070 makes it so the government can’t create a policy limiting the enforcement of federal immigration laws. If any part of the government does make a policy restricting enforcement of federal immigration laws, citizens have standing to sue. If they win, they get court costs and attorney fees. This doesn’t mean an officer will be sued just for not arresting a particular person or group of people. There will have to be a policy, not just one officer failing … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes, immigration

Scary Numbers

I had a sentencing yesterday morning, and I arrived early because I hoped the court would call my client’s case first. The commissioner hearing the case usually likes to start with a group advisement of rights for all the defendants (if they’re all informed of their rights in advance, a judge can save some time because he won’t have to individually tell them what they’re giving up if they choose to enter a plea), but sometimes he’ll do a sentencing or two first if the attorneys get there early enough. While I was waiting for court to start, I had an interesting conversation with the bailiff. She said the morning calendar consisted of 14 sentencings and 90 pretrials. As I sat there, I thought about what those numbers … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts, Practice in General

Some Terrifying New Legislation (Maybe)

One thing Bennett Kalafut mentioned in passing in this post over at Goldwater State caught my attention. Is it really possible that Arizona may soon have a law declaring undocumented aliens to be trespassing? Curious, I had a look at the text of the resolution. Here it is. If that ever became law, it would have pretty much everything any frothing-at-the-mouth anti-illegal-immigration-type could ever want. It would make it so that aliens in this country in violation of the federal improper entry statute would be committing criminal trespass simply by virtue of being in Arizona. It wouldn’t matter whether they’re on public or private land. The first time, it would be a misdemeanor, but after that, it would be a class 4 felony. That’s … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes, immigration, Legislation

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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