Arizona Police use dog to search vehicle

Do Police Need a Search Warrant to Search a Car in AZ?

In Arizona, people are protected against an unlawful vehicle search or seizure by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. While the Fourth Amendment requires officers to get search warrants before they search your property, there are several exceptions to the warrant requirement that allow them to search without a search warrant.

Vehicle searches are treated differently than searches of your home, and police are generally allowed to conduct warrantless searches of vehicles as long as they have probable cause.

Several other exceptions also allow police to search vehicles without warrants, including consent, searches incident to an arrest, inventory searches, plain view searches, and searches based on reasonable suspicion. We’ll take a brief look at each of these exceptions below.

Warrantless Searches Based on Probable Cause

In 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court established the mobile conveyance exception to the search warrant requirement in Carroll v. United States. In their decision, Supreme Court distinguished vehicles from homes, noting that vehicles can easily be moved away from a traffic stop, and evidence could be destroyed.

As long as police have probable cause, they can search your car without a warrant under the mobile conveyance exception without it being considered an unlawful search.

An officer has probable cause when a reasonably prudent person in the same situation would believe that evidence of a crime is likely located inside of a vehicle. However, only the areas in which the suspected evidence would likely be located can be searched.

For example, if a police officer has probable cause to believe that you stole your neighbor’s 60-inch television and that it is likely hidden in your car, he or she can search your vehicle’s trunk. However, the officer would not have probable cause to search your glove box since a television would not fit inside.

If a police officer pulled you over for a minor traffic violation, he or she will generally not have probable cause to support a warrantless search of your vehicle. However, if your conduct following the stop allows the officer to develop probable cause that evidence might be located in your vehicle, he or she can search without a warrant.

Consider this, if you are stopped for speeding, the officer will not be able to search your car based only on that. However, if he or she smells alcohol on your breath, he or she can search your car for open containers of alcohol.

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Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in Arizona?

Are DUI Checkpoints Legal in Arizona?

Removing drivers who are under the influence off of the road is a key goal for law enforcement authorities in Arizona. However, officers are required to respect certain rights of motorists when they conduct traffic stops, including having a reasonable suspicion that the motorists have engaged in illegal activity or are doing so before they can pull them over. To stop a driver for a suspected DUI, an officer must observe some type of indicator that the driver might be intoxicated or is driving dangerously.

DUI checkpoints, or sobriety checkpoints, allow police officers to stop vehicles without first observing any indication of dangerous or intoxicated driving. While this might seem to contradict the general rule for police officers and their requirements for stopping drivers, DUI checkpoints in Arizona have been found to be constitutional as long as they are conducted properly.

Police officers must carry out checkpoints under an advanced plan that provides neutral and explicit limitations on the actions of the officers. This is to prevent police from making pretextual stops on the basis of race. The courts believe that taking away the officers’ discretion about which vehicles to stop in a DUI checkpoint can reduce the likelihood that motorists will be chosen based on an officer’s biases.

What Makes a DUI Stop or Checkpoint Legal?

Under normal circumstances, a police officer will need to have a reasonable suspicion that you have violated the law before he or she can pull you over. This suspicion cannot be an inarticulable hunch. Instead, the officer must observe you engaging in some type of activity that makes him or her reasonably suspect that you have violated the traffic laws or are driving drunk.

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Is a Fingerprint Evidence Enough for a Criminal Conviction?

In many movies and television shows, a defendant will be identified and subsequently convicted of a crime after a detective finds his or her fingerprints at a crime scene. However, fingerprints are often not enough by themselves to result in a conviction. Instead, fingerprint evidence is often presented as one piece of evidence rather than the only evidence against a defendant.

When detectives discover fingerprints at a crime scene, they are commonly used in investigations to identify potential suspects or persons of interest. However, because of their limitations, police officers and prosecutors will often want to find additional types of evidence to secure a conviction.

If an officer finds your fingerprints, they will connect you to the crime scene. However, there is no way for the police to determine how long your fingerprints have been there. Interpreting fingerprints to match them may also result in a mistaken identification.

While fingerprints might not have the evidentiary strength of DNA evidence, they are still used in criminal cases. Fingerprints are generally considered to be reliable, and juries understand what they mean. Every person has a series of ridges on their fingers that are ostensibly theirs and no one else’s.

How Fingerprints are Matched to a Suspect

Two principles inform prosecutors about how to handle fingerprint evidence. The first principle is that the friction ridge patterns on your fingertips will not change during your life. The second principle is that every person has a unique pattern of friction ridges, including identical twins.

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DUI Rights to an Independent Blood Test

Your Rights to a DUI Independent Blood Test

When you are arrested in Arizona for a suspected DUI, the officer might order a DUI blood test. Before a blood test can be ordered, the officer must first either obtain your voluntary consent or secure a search warrant. Upon drawing your blood, the officer is required to advise you of your right to conduct independent testing of your blood. However, you might not know how to find an independent lab to draw your blood after hours to test it for your alcohol concentration. Because it might take you some time to locate a blood testing facility and get transportation, several hours may have passed. Since the alcohol in your blood dissipates over time, this can be a real problem.

If you ask for independent blood alcohol testing, the officer cannot do things to unreasonably interfere with your right to obtain this sample. When you are arrested for a DUI, you should contact a Phoenix DUI attorney as soon as possible. You have the right to ask for an attorney, and you should do so as soon as you are arrested. You also have the right to ask for an independent blood sample.

Even if you are transported to jail, you can ask the officer to take you to a local hospital to have an independent blood test performed. While you might not understand why this is important, an independent blood sample might help you to identify problems with how the blood test was performed in your DUI case.

Speak to Arizona DUI Defense Attorney Arja Shah Now

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Shah Law has successfully defended over 2,700 clients. We are on your side!

Understanding Blood Testing for DUI Alcohol or Drugs

When your blood is drawn to show the concentration of alcohol in your blood, you might think that the results are valid and accurate, preventing you from defending against a DUI charge. However, blood testing is not infallible. It is possible to challenge the results of a blood test on procedural, handling, and scientific grounds.

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Domestic Violence Charges During Holidays

Do Domestic Violence Charges Increase During the Holidays?

Many people think that incidents of domestic violence charges spike during the holidays. The holidays can be stressful and cause people to take their anger out on those who are closest to them. Several factors can lead to domestic violence incidents during the holidays, including financial stress, unrealistic expectations, increased alcohol use, and being shut inside with immediate family members for extended periods.

During this holiday season, all of these factors are compounded by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the added layers of stress and financial problems it has wrought. While domestic violence cases do happen, some people also lash out at their family members by filing false reports.

People who are charged with domestic violence crimes should talk to a domestic violence attorney at the Shah Law Firm as soon as possible.

Speak to Arizona Defense Attorney Arja Shah Now

We are Open and Available to answer any questions. Free consultations by phone or video chat.
Shah Law has successfully defended over 2,700 clients. We are on your side!

Increase in Domestic Violence Charges During the Holidays

The holidays bring a lot of added stress to families in Arizona. People can be overwhelmed when they have to plan holiday celebrations. They might also be facing increased financial stress and have unrealistic expectations of their experiences. Holidays can always be overwhelming. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has added even more stress. Many families are struggling financially and simply do not have the means to celebrate in the way in which they would like.

According to data from the Phoenix Police Department, domestic violence homicides increased by 180% year-over-year during the first eight months of 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. This demonstrates that people were already under significant stress even before the holiday season got started.

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Mesa Police at Mesa DUI Checkpoint

6 Things Police Won’t Tell You When Pulled Over for DUI

Arizona DUI laws have drastically changed over the past few decades. While law enforcement agencies have engaged in numerous approaches to minimize impaired driving, cases involving driving under the influence of drugs have been increasing. Because of the increase in drugged driving, how officers investigate suspected DUI cases has changed.

Most people do not understand the complex nature of DUI arrests and might not understand how they are affected when their blood alcohol concentrations are 0.08% or higher. Many people have unrealistic beliefs about how DUIs are investigated.

Here are six things that police officers will not tell you about how they investigate people for suspected DUIs.

1. Many people who are arrested for DUIs are initially only stopped for minor traffic offenses.

Police officers do not necessarily know that a person has been drinking or using drugs at the time that they stop their vehicles. While an officer might believe that you could be under the influence because of the time of day or the location of your stop, he or she does not know if you have been drinking before you are stopped.

Most DUI reports refer to a minor traffic offense as the reason for the stop. For example, the driver might have failed to use a turn signal while turning or moving lanes, might have been speeding, or may have committed other types of traffic violations.

Few reports list the officer’s suspicion that the driver was driving while impaired as the reason for a stop. It’s much more common for a different traffic offense to serve as the opening for a DUI investigation.

 

Click to Learn More About All 6 Things Police Won’t Tell You When Pulled Over for DUI in Arizona…

Post Bail at 4th Ave Jail in Phoenix

How to Post Bail at 4th Ave Jail in Phoenix

If your friend or family member is arrested in Maricopa County, Arizona, he or she may be booked into jail. After he or she arrives at the jail, he or she will be processed and then will either wait in jail to appear in court or until someone bails him or her out of jail.

People who are arrested for misdemeanor offenses might be booked into the 4th Avenue Jail while those who are arrested for felony offenses will likely be booked into that facility.

Below is information from the Shah Law Firm about posting bail at the 4th Avenue Jail in Phoenix.

What are Bail and Bond?

Bail is a conditional release of a defendant in exchange for a financial arrangement that someone else makes for the defendant. To secure the release of the defendant, a person or bail bonds agent will post the money or collateral. Bail is set by the court.

The person who posts bail for a defendant will be responsible for ensuring that he or she attends his or her court appearances. Bond is an agreement that the full bail amount will be paid. Some courts will accept a 10% down payment of the total bail amount.

Posting a Bond for someone at the 4th Avenue Jail

To post a bond for someone at the 4th Avenue Jail, you will want to know the forms of payment that the facility accepts. The 4th Avenue Jail only accepts the following types of payments for bond:

  • Cashier’s check
  • Postal money order
  • Western Union money order
  • U.S. currency in the exact amount of the bond
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover

Whichever of these forms of payment that you choose, they must be made out to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. If the transaction is for $10,000 or more, your Social Security number will be required because of Internal Revenue Service rules.

Click to Learn More About How to Post Bail at 4th Ave Jail…

bench warrant for failure to appear in court in Arizona

How to Clear an Arizona Bench Warrant for Failure to Appear in Court

Some defense lawyers in Phoenix might suggest that the defense against a failure to appear charge in the state of Arizona are relatively limited due to the fact that in almost all instances, the defendant knowingly missed his or her court date — and proving otherwise can be pretty difficult to do — especially if you don’t have the right defense attorney. With that said, however, there can in some instances absolutely be extenuating circumstances outside of the control of a defendant, such as a car accident, the hospitalization of the defendant or his or her spouse or child, and so on.

But even in instances where the reasons for missing a court date are valid, you will still have to go to court — now, for the original reason you were supposed to appear, as well as to explain to the court why you were absent on the day of your original court date. As long as you received the proper notice of your court date and failed to appear, the judge will want to hear why, and if possible, see proof of the reasons you give to the court for missing your original date.

In instances where a bench warrant was filed due to your missed court date, you and your attorney do have the ability to file a motion to cancel the bench warrant and give your reasons for missing the original date. This process is called “filing a motion to quash a bench warrant for failure to appear,” and as long as the circumstances that made it virtually impossible or totally impossible for you to appear in court, most of the time, the judge will dismiss the charge and cancel the bench warrant, leaving you to only have to deal with the original charge or charges you were facing.

What Kind of Charge is a Failure to Appear in Court in Arizona?

In the state of Arizona, failure to appear in court can be either a felony or a misdemeanor charge depending on the circumstances. In circumstances where the defendant knowingly failed to appear in court when the original charge was a felony, a failure to appear in court will be considered a first degree failure to appear in court and deemed a Class 5 felony in accordance with Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-2507.

  • For this charge, you could face up to 1.5 years in jail and up to $150,000 in fines and fees.

In instances when your failure to appear in court was related to a petty offense (something for which there is no possible jail or prison time) or misdemeanor charge rather than a felony, you will be charged with a second degree failure to appear in court in accordance with Arizona Revised Statute 13-3903.

  • Second degree failure to appear in court is deemed a Class 2 misdemeanor, for which the maximum sentence is four months in facility that is not a prison along with a fine of no more than $750.

Click to Learn More about Arizona bench warrant laws for failure to appear in court…

Arizona manslaughter laws

How Can Manslaughter Charges Be Ruled Self-Defense in Arizona?

In the state of Arizona, the law allows you to fight — and even in some instances kill, if warranted — in an effort to protect yourself, your family, or other loved ones. With that said, proving that how you used physical force in the act of self-defense is a great deal more complicated than most people realize against manslaughter charges.

Other states in the US have similar laws, such as the popular “stand your ground” laws that explain to residents that suggest that someone would be justified in threatening to use — or actually using — physical force against another person to a reasonable extent when the first person believes it to be immediately necessary for the purposes of protecting him or herself and/or others.

In the state of Arizona, and according to ARS 13-411, citizens have no duty to retreat before making any threats of physical violence in most instances if you are in a situation or a place where you have the legal right to be, and you have not engaged in any illegal acts.

When You Can Legally Use Force, Even Deadly Force

In fact, here in Arizona, there are a variety of situations in which the use of physical force are entirely justified, not just self-defense. Physical force may also be used in the state of Arizona in an effort to thwart certain crimes, as well as to come to the physical defense of a third-party whom you may or may not know. Furthermore, when a justification defense is something you plan to use, the prosecution bears the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant in question did not act in a justified manner.

The statutes that protect you and allow you to use self-defense, and even to commit manslaughter in Arizona when justified are as follows:

  1. Arizona Revised Statute Section 14-404: Justification: Self-Defense
  2. Arizona Revised Statute Section 13-405 Justification: Use of Deadly Physical Force

Threatening or using force in self-defense, including deadly force, is justified when a reasonable person could believe that that force was immediately necessary to stay safe (protect yourself) from another person’s use — or attempted use — of illegal physical force.

Self-defense is NOT justified when:

  • The other person has only made a verbal threat
  • If you are resisting arrest from a law enforcement officer
  • If an innocent third-party was injured or killed as a result of your recklessness
  • If you were the person who initiated the provocation of the other person’s use of force, except when you were the one who withdrew first and clearly stated your intent to withdraw AND the other person continued to then use illegal physical force.

Click to Learn More about Arizona manslaughter laws…

Resisting arrest in Arizona: ARS 13-2508

What is Considered Resisting Arrest by Police in Arizona?

In Arizona, there is actually a statute that defines what it means to resist arrest — lawmakers did this to ensure there would be no confusion in the courtroom after an arrest has been made, as resisting arrest is often a charge that is added to, or that happens in addition to, other charges at the same time.

Arizona Revised Statute 13-2508: Resisting Arrest in the State of Arizona

According to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-2508, resisting arrest in Arizona is defined as the act of intentionally preventing an arrest by either:

  1. Using or threatening to use physical force
  2. Creating substantial risk or physical injury
  3. Passively resisting an arrest through nonviolent physical means in a manner meant to impede, delay, or otherwise hinder an arrest

Passive Resistance of Arrest

Because it is one of the most common forms of resisting arrest today, and because peaceful resistance of arrest is known as a tool of protestors and others during the course of exercising their First Amendment right to free speech, it is important to understand passive resistance to arrest.

Passive resistance can mean more than one thing, but it is important to understand that the same rules for resisting arrest that apply to someone violently resisting through physical harm to authorities will also apply to someone who is peacefully resisting. And, in the courtroom, an Arizona judge is not likely to note the difference between a peaceful resistance and a physical revolt against arrest, with the only obvious difference — which would result in further charges — being resisting arrest in a violent manner that resulted in an injury or injuries to one or more police officers or other authorities.

A peaceful or nonviolent resistance to arrest can simply mean failure to act when told you are under arrest, refusing to put your hands behind your back, refusing to get out of your car or move from a specific physical space when an officer or other authority has commanded you to, or “dead weighting” your body in such a manner that arresting you and moving you from where you are on the street or another public space into a patrol car is exceedingly difficult for authorities.

ARS 13-2508 Includes Quite a Bit of Unclear Language

While Arizona law does have a specific statute for resisting arrest as noted above, Arizona Revised Statute 13-2508 is difficult to pin down, not only for officers and citizenry, but even for the courts and judges themselves. The statute contains a lot of room for interpretation — or misinterpretation — that makes it incredibly broad, far reaching, and frankly, that gives both the state and the person who allegedly resisted arrest a good amount of wiggle room.
Click to Learn More about Resisting Arrest in Arizona…

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