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.

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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.

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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.
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Shannon's Law illegally discharging a firearm in Arizona

Shannon’s Law & Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm in Arizona

Shannon’s Law is legislation that was passed in the state of Arizona that makes it illegal to discharge a firearm anywhere within the city limits of any city or town within the state of Arizona.

The law was passed in response to the 1999 gun-shooting tragedy that ended the life of Shannon Smith. As the story goes, Shannon Smith was casually walking around the back yard of her Central Phoenix home when suddenly, a bullet that had been fired into the air more than a mile away from her location struck her in the head and killed her.

Shannon Smith’s parents fought and won to create Shannon’s Law in a grassroots effort that included a veritable who’s who among Phoenix area prosecutors, politicians, area citizens, and law enforcement officials, among others, who wanted to see the legislative change that would restore peace in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, making it illegal to fire any type of gun or rifle into the air in an effort to avoid future tragedies such as the one that tragically took the life of Shannon Smith.

Known legally as Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 13-3107, enacted in 2000, Shannon’s Law makes it a felony for anyone, according to the law, “who, with criminal negligence discharges a firearm within or into the limits of any municipality” within the state of Arizona.

Not Every Discharge of a Firearm is a Felony in the State of Arizona

While it is true that Shannon’s Law makes it unlawful to discharge a firearm, it only does so when, according to the Shannon’s Law legislation, that person does so with criminal negligence, which may not always apply in every case. To prove this and obtain a misdemeanor charge instead of a felony charge, you may have to strike a plea bargain, but in the state of Arizona, these are relatively rare.

It’s important to understand that, because of the notoriety Shannon’s law received upon its passage, and because the law provides for mandatory sentencing, cases that fall under its purview are prosecuted with relative aggressiveness when compared to other, similar offenses within the state of Arizona, and especially within the Greater Phoenix Metro Area.

However, the important exceptions to Shannon’s Law that some people may not be aware of include shooting that occurs within supervised outdoor shooting ranges, areas where hunting is permitted, and select other designated areas in and around Phoenix and other parts of the state of Arizona.

Illegally discharging a firearm and understanding Shannon's Law in Phoenix
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Order of protection violation in Arizona

Violation of a Restraining Order or Order of Protection in Arizona

Violating a restraining order in the state of Arizona is a serious charge that comes with serious repercussions, including fines, potential jail time, and even criminal charges. But before we discuss exactly what happens if you do violate an order of protection in Arizona, let’s first talk a little bit about what they are, what the implications are, and why you may have been ordered to stay away from a specific person or other entity in the state of Arizona.

What Exactly is a Restraining Order or Order of Protection in Arizona?

The state of Arizona defines a restraining order as an order of protection, offering protection from one individual to another against any potential acts of abuse of any kind, harassment, or other violations of the protection order holder’s rights and freedom of movement. Orders of protection are served to those defendants who the criminal court has decided could be a danger to the holder of the order of protection, and this could be simply based on that person’s fear of you or what you may do if the two of you come into contact.

Orders of protection can be served both to those who know one another well as well as to those who are strangers or virtual strangers to one another based upon the circumstances of the record of potential harassment. In Arizona, you can be served with an order of protection, an emergency order of protection, an injunction against harassment, or an injunction against workplace harassment — which one you are served with will depend on the circumstances surrounding the reasons for the order in the first place.

Who Can Have an Order of Protection Filed Against Them in Arizona?

This is an important question with a variety of disparate answers. In the state of Arizona, an order of protection can be served to any of the following people:

  • A current or former husband or wife (spouse or ex-spouse)
  • A person with whom you have lived, shared a household, been roommates, or cohabitated as an unmarried couple
  • Any person with whom you have had or currently have a romantic and/or sexual relationship as defined by Arizona law
  • A person who impregnated another person, or with whom you have a child or children in common
  • Any relative of any kind, including the relatives of a current or former husband or wife (spouse or ex-spouse’s relatives), including your own parents, grandparents, in-laws of any kind, or siblings and step siblings

Click to Learn More about order of protection violations in Arizona…

Arizona Dram Shop Liability Laws

Dram Shop Liability In Arizona ARS 4-311 (D)

According to Arizona Revise Statute (ARS 4-311 (D), any restaurants, bars, nightclubs, saloons, or any other places licensed to serve alcohol — known as dram shops — are liable for serving intoxicated patrons and/or minors under the following conditions:

  • Whether the establishment sold liquor or other spirits to any person who was clearly and obviously intoxicated
  • Whether or not that individual consumed all the alcohol that he or she purchased
  • Whether or not the consumption of the alcohol served by the dram shop was the proximate cause of any injuries, property damage, or other types of damages.

What It Means to Be Intoxicated Under Dram Shop Liability Laws in Arizona

In order for the tenets of ARS 4-311 (D) to be properly upheld, the definition of what it means to be intoxicated has to be legally established. For the purposes of this Arizona Revised Statute, intoxications is when any individual drinking — or ordering drinks at the dram shop — is inebriated to a point where the physical and mental impairment is obvious to those around that individual, including other patrons, bartenders, and servers, due to the fact that the intoxicated person is physically uncoordinated, is showing signs of serious physical dysfunction, and other signs, such as slurring speech.

It is under this definition of intoxication or inebriation that a dram shop could be held liable for any injuries or damages done when that dram shop continues to serve alcohol to the individual displaying these signs and symptoms.
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White collar crime attorney in Arizona

What is White Collar Crime in Arizona?

Unlike most other crimes, white collar crimes are often difficult to detect and not as out in the open and blatant as something like armed robbery, for example, which is easy to get caught for and generally much easier for the prosecution to prove in a court of law. However, when it comes to white collar crimes that involve embezzlement, the laundering of money, or extortion, the charges are in most cases not as obvious — but that absolutely does not mean that being charged with white collar crime comes with lesser charges — in fact, the penalties, fines, and other sentencing can be just as severe if not worse in some cases.

White collar crimes involve many different types of charges not only in Arizona, but also on the federal level. Our Arizona based law firm, the Shah Law Firm, has years of experience representing people with these cases. Our white-collar crime attorneys in Phoenix understand how to defend against these charges and to investigate cases thoroughly for our clients. We offer no-cost legal consultations to those interested in learning more about our expertise and services.

White Collar Crime Defined

In the most basic sense, white collar crime is one in which there was no violence used, and the perpetrator of the crime had something financial to gain by committing the crime. Most frequently investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or the FBI, white collar crime is typically characterized by the concealment of the truth, or through violation of trust through deceit in any number of forms. And, in most instances, the motivation for white collar crime is the financial gain on the part of the perpetrator of the crime.

Click to Learn More about White Collar Crime Charges and Representation in Arizona…

AZ fraud attorney

What are the Penalties for Credit Card Fraud in Arizona?

Credit card fraud is a serious offense in the State of Arizona. It is the crime of taking and/or possessing someone’s credit card without his or her consent, or without the consent of the business entity that owns the credit card. Additionally, any person or other entity that accepts any gift that was purchased with a stolen credit card may also be charged and convicted of fraud. Because credit card fraud can mean so many different things legally, it’s important to have an experienced Arizona fraud attorney by your side before, during, and after any court proceedings. At the Shah Law Firm, we have years of experience representing people and business entities facing credit card fraud charges in Phoenix, AZ.

In Arizona, Credit Card Fraud Can be Committed in a Variety of Ways, Including:

  • Skimming credit card numbers online or off
  • Abuse of a credit card in your own name or that of another person in the form of telling the card provider that certain charges were fraudulent when they were not
  • Identity theft by way of credit card or through the use of a credit card and another form of ID, be it Arizona or federal
  • About Credit Card Fraud

Theft charges will depend on the value of the item stolen while using any credit card illegally. Anyone who controls a credit card without the cardholder’s permission, who possesses or controls the credit card as security for a debt, or who sells or transfers a credit card with the intent to defraud is guilty of credit card fraud in the state of Arizona.

Click to Learn More about credit card fraud in Arizona…

Fighting Criminal Charges in Phoenix, AZ

If you have been charged with a criminal charge in Phoenix, you need expert legal counsel by your side. Our team of criminal defense attorneys can aggressively defend you and protect your legal rights. We have years of experience and understand criminal law extensively. We have the resources necessary to prepare an effective defense for your criminal case.

What Cases We Can Defend

Our Phoenix law firm provides defense legal representation for all types of criminal cases. These cases include:

  • Violent Crimes
  • Identity Theft
  • Domestic Violence
  • Assault & Battery
  • Drug possession
  • Theft
  • Shoplifting
  • Criminal Trespass

Schedule a Free Legal Consultation Today

To fight criminal charges in Phoenix the most effectively, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. The sooner we can begin to investigate your case, the faster we can get you the results you’re looking for. We offer free legal consultations at our Arizona law office. To schedule this consultation, call us at 602-888-0369. We serve clients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Goodyear, and Apache Junction, AZ.

What Happens When a Person is Charged with a Crime?

There are certain procedures that must be followed after someone is arrested or charged with a crime. Ultimately, it’s important to always secure legal representation after being charged. At Shah Law Firm, we have years of experience helping individuals to fight their criminal charges in Arizona.

How it Works

A person may be charged before they are even arrested. If this happens, a judge issues a warrant for their arrest. A police officer will try to locate the person. If they find them, they arrest them, and the police must give the person a copy of the warrant with the charges on it. In other instances, someone is arrested and then booked at the police department. This means they must fill out paperwork and have their fingerprints taken.

The person charged is held in police custody pending a court hearing that typically takes place within 48 hours. When the person is in police custody, they have the right to an attorney. They also should be able to meet with their attorney before their court hearing briefly. At the court hearing, someone can enter a plea of no contest, not guilty, or guilty. They then can be bailed out and released until their court date.

Call to Speak to Criminal Attorneys Today

It’s important that you have expert legal counsel by your side when you’ve been charged with a crime. At Shah Law Firm, we have immense experience helping those like you to resolve your criminal matters. We offer no-cost legal consultations where you can learn more about what we offer, and you can ask any questions you have about your charges or the legal process. To schedule this consultation with a Phoenix criminal defense attorney, call our Arizona law office today at 602-888-0369. We serve clients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Goodyear, and Apache Junction, AZ.

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