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Arizona Criminal Trespassing Laws



Arizona Criminal Trespassing Laws


Figuring out when a specific action constitutes criminal trespassing can sometimes be tricky. It is a bit more nuanced than what it may seem at first. Knowing which lines, you cannot cross regarding trespassing is crucial if you want to stay out of trouble.

Understanding the act of trespassing better also allows you to fight against false charges. You do not need to tremble at the mere accusation of trespassing if you know your rights.

Throughout this article, we will talk more about criminal trespassing in the state of Arizona. We will define what the offense is and its varying degrees. We will also discuss the potential penalties that may stem from a criminal trespassing charge.

Read on to learn more about this important aspect of Arizona law.

What Is Criminal Trespassing?

Most of us have a general idea of what trespassing is all about. When you are on someone else’s property without their permission, that is typically considered trespassing.

That is a good place to start when learning more about trespassing, but there is more nuance to the matter. For instance, there are different degrees of trespassing violations that people may be guilty of.

Let’s get into those different degrees of criminal trespassing in Arizona in the sections below.

Criminal Trespassing in the Third-Degree

To get started, let’s first take a closer look at criminal trespassing in the third-degree. This is the least severe of the trespassing offenses in the state of Arizona.

You must meet one of two conditions to be guilty of the offense.

First, trespassing in the third-degree may occur if you knowingly enter or stay on property after you were already told to leave. The request to leave may come from different sources.

The owner of the property or someone in charge of it can tell you to leave. You will also need to leave if a law enforcement officer acting on behalf of the property owner tells you to. If there is a sign indicating you should not be on the property, you should leave as soon as you see it.

Third-degree trespassing may also occur if you are on the right-of-way for railroad tracks, switching yards, or a railroad company’s rolling stock. Leave immediately if you are in that area.

All instances of trespassing in the third degree are considered class 3 misdemeanors.

Penalties for Criminal Trespassing in the Third-Degree

Penalties for a class 3 misdemeanor include jail time. You are looking at a maximum jail sentence of thirty days if you are found guilty of third-degree trespassing.

Jail time is not the only thing you need to worry about. Guilty parties may also pay a fine. The maximum fine for committing third-degree trespassing in Arizona is $500.

The fine is not the only monetary penalty you may receive. The owner of the property may also sue you if they believe that you damaged their property.

As you can see, the penalties that stem from trespassing in the third-degree can be serious. Now, keep in mind that this is still the least severe of the trespassing-related offenses.

Criminal Trespassing in the Second-Degree

Second-degree trespassing narrows its focus further. It hones-in on the matter of trespassing on non-residential properties.

Per Arizona law, knowingly entering or staying unlawfully inside any non-residential structure constitutes second-degree trespassing. You may also be deemed guilty of committing this offense if you enter or stay too long inside any fenced commercial yard.

To clarify, a fenced commercial yard refers to properties such as farms or the spaces outside warehouses where they keep items. This space may be surrounded by walls, barriers, or other structures.

You can be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor if you commit second-degree trespassing.

Penalties for Criminal Trespassing in the Second-Degree

The penalties for class 2 misdemeanors ramp up significantly from their previous levels.

Jail time increases significantly for the guilty parties. Instead of spending a maximum of one month in prison, the defendant may spend the next four months locked up.

That is a big change in penalties that can set an individual back significantly for the foreseeable future.

Fines are baked into the penalties once again. This time around, the maximum fine can be $750.

Like before, anyone guilty of second-degree trespassing can also be sued by the owner of the property. If you damaged anything on that non-residential property, you could find yourself on the hook for numerous hefty payments.

Criminal Trespassing in the First-Degree – The Misdemeanors

Finally, we have first-degree trespassing violations. First-degree trespassing violations account for more potential crimes.

Notably, some first-degree trespassing violations are considered misdemeanors while others are not. Let’s talk about the misdemeanors first.

You can be guilty of first-degree trespassing in Arizona if you knowingly enter and/or refuse to leave a fenced residential yard. This refers to the back and front yards of residential homes.

Individuals can also be charged with criminal trespassing in the first-degree while they are in a residential yard that is not fenced. That happens if the individual in question looks into the residential structure.

Peeping like that is considered as infringing on the property owner’s right to privacy. This form of trespassing is not always considered a sex crime, but it could become that depending on certain circumstances.

Unlawfully entering a property “subject to a valid mineral claim or lease with the intent to hold, work, take or explore for minerals on the claim or lease” is similarly regarded as a first-degree trespassing violation.

Penalties for Criminal Trespassing in the First-Degree for the Misdemeanor Offenses

All the first-degree trespassing violations that we mentioned in the section above are considered class 1 misdemeanors. Class 1 misdemeanors carry the heaviest penalties among all the misdemeanor violations.

You can tell that right away by the amount of jail time a guilty party could potentially serve. The maximum jail sentence goes from four months to six.

The increase in the maximum potential fine is also significant. The court may order you to pay as much as $2,500 for the crime you committed.

Once again, we cannot forget about the possibility that you may be sued by the property owner if you are convicted of criminal trespassing in the first degree.

Class 1 misdemeanors carry some substantial penalties. Steer clear of them by heeding Arizona’s trespassing laws.

Criminal Trespassing in the First-Degree – The Felonies

Let’s continue talking about criminal trespassing in the first-degree by focusing on the violations that qualify as felonies.

If you enter someone’s home and/or refuse to leave someone’s home, they can charge you with trespassing. Simply put, you should not be in another person’s home unless you have permission to be there.

Individuals who enter another person’s property and then proceed to vandalize a religious symbol or another form of religious property without permission can also receive a trespassing charge.

Both of those violations are regarded as class 6 felonies.

The law can charge anyone who unlawfully enters or stays inside a critical public service facility with criminal trespassing.

The term “critical public service facility” accounts for a wide variety of structures.

Structures used for public transportation and distributing and storing various public utilities are considered critical public service facilities. Buildings used by law enforcement, fire departments, and emergency service providers also qualify.

Unlawfully entering or staying inside a critical public service facility and you could find yourself receiving a class 5 felony.

Penalties for Criminal Trespassing in the First-Degree for the Felony Offenses

Being guilty of committing a class 6 felony means that you could go to prison for a long time.

The maximum prison sentence for a person who commits a class 6 felony is eighteen months. The minimum prison sentence is still quite lengthy at six months.

Criminals charged with a class 5 felony are looking at even more prison time.

The minimum prison sentence for those individuals goes up to nine months. Meanwhile, the maximum sentence for offenders is two years in prison.

Fines remain among the penalties that offenders may face. For a felony offense, the upper limit for the fine assessed is up to $150,000.

Paying a potential fine of $150,000 is tough enough. Consider how difficult paying off that fine will be if the property owner also sues you.

What Are Potential Defenses against Criminal Trespassing Charges?

You can see how devastating the penalties associated with criminal trespassing are. If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of being falsely charged with criminal trespassing, fighting hard against those accusations is a must.

Partnering with an experienced lawyer is necessary for that scenario. Your lawyer may also look to use the defenses detailed below as they fight back against the false trespassing charges that have been put forth.

There Was No Intent to Trespass

One of the most common defenses used in trespassing cases is to say that the defendant had no intent to trespass upon another person’s property. The defense attorney may argue that their client had no idea that they were even intruding upon a privately owned property or piece of land.

That kind of incident can happen if the property in question is often unsupervised. The property owner may only be relying on a “no trespassing” sign to keep unwelcome visitors away.

The problem with only using a “no trespassing” sign is that it may be positioned in the wrong spot. They must place them by the entrances to the property itself. If they are not located there, someone entering the property can easily miss them.

A person may be trespassing on private property without even being aware that they are doing so. It sounds like an excuse, but it is something that can happen. Use it as your defense if it applies in your case.

You Received Permission to Be on the Property

Misunderstandings can get out of hand in a hurry. A simple lack of communication can lead to tempers flaring and calling the police.

For example, a friend may have invited you to hang out at their house, but they said they would be late, so you should let yourself in. Following their instructions, you decide to enter the home only to meet with the startled expression of one of its residents.

In all that confusion, the resident of the home may have called the police to report you as a trespasser or perhaps even an intruder. Of course, that is not the case.

You had permission to enter the property, and you even have evidence of it. Disproving the trespassing charges put forth against you is easy when you have that evidence.

There may not even be a need to take things to court as long as you can prove that the owner of the property invited you over.

The Person Who Asked You to Leave Is Not the Owner of the Property

To avoid a trespassing charge, you should leave if the owner of the property tells you to. There is no need to overstay your welcome unless you want to get in trouble.

But what should you do if someone other than the owner of the property is asking you to leave? That can be a bit tricky.

If you do have permission to be on the property from the owner, you have no reason to leave. The person asking you to leave may have no authority to order you to do anything like that. To be safe, double-check with the owner of the property so you can rest assured that you are not trespassing.

Errors Made by Law Enforcement

Another common defense used in many cases is to point out that law enforcement committed errors that led to violating your constitutional rights. Police officers can make mistakes while in the middle of collecting evidence or arresting you. If they committed violations themselves, the charges against you may not stick.

Criminal trespassing charges carry serious penalties. Avoid those penalties by fighting back against the false accusations being lobbed at you. Contact us at the Schill Law Group and we will guide you through that legal ordeal.

What to Expect from Misdemeanor Assault Charges in Arizona



What to Expect from Misdemeanor Assault Charges in Arizona

Misdemeanor assault charges are serious accusations. If you are on the receiving end of false assault charges, you need to do everything in your power to fight them.

The effects of those charges can be devastating. They can lead to severe penalties that impact your immediate and long-term future. On top of that, those charges can stick with you even after the law duly punishes you.

In this article, we will further detail what misdemeanor assault charges are all about. We will discuss how you might end up charged with misdemeanor assault and the different variations of that offense. We will also talk about the penalties that stem from those charges if you are an Arizona resident.

Find out more about misdemeanor assault charges in Arizona by continuing with the rest of this article.

What Is Misdemeanor Assault in the State of Arizona?

When you think of an offense such as assault, it is easy to think that it only involves hurting someone. Maybe you punched someone in the face after arguing with them. That does indeed constitute assault, but crucially, that type of offense can occur even without someone getting injured.

In the state of Arizona, they classify misdemeanor assault into three categories. We have detailed what those categories are below.

Class 3 Misdemeanor Assault

Class 3 misdemeanor assault is the lightest of all the potential assault charges in Arizona.

For a class 3 misdemeanor assault charge to stick, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant knowingly touched another person to injure them. These charges also account for instances where a person touches another to insult or provoke them.

An example of class 3 misdemeanor assault would be pushing someone while the two of you were in the middle of an argument. The prosecutor could argue that you pushed the other person to force them to the ground. They could also argue that your push provoked the other party to hit you.

Penalties for Class 3 Misdemeanor Assault

The penalties for class 1 misdemeanor assault can be quite impactful.

It starts with a jail sentence. You are looking at potentially spending 30 days in jail if those charges stick in court.

Being put on probation is also a possibility for those found guilty of class 1 misdemeanor assault. The probation period may last up to one year.

Guilty parties will also need to pay fines and render community service. The judge may also order them to attend anger management classes.

Class 2 Misdemeanor Assault

Different violations may qualify as a form of class 2 misdemeanor assault. You may be guilty whether you injure someone or not.

First, you can be guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor assault if you intentionally put the other party in “reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury”.

An example of this would be threatening to punch someone while approaching them. The defendant may be yelling across the room, and as the enraged assailant closes in, the other party assumes they will get hit.

Note that the defendant does not need to go through with hitting the plaintiff. Authorities could interpret the threat of it alone as a misdemeanor assault.

You can also be deemed guilty of class 2 misdemeanor assault if you recklessly injured someone. Even though the intent was lacking, assault can still occur if you injure someone.

While under the influence of alcohol, you may have gotten too rowdy inside the bar. If you accidentally hit and injure someone, authorities can charge you with class 2 misdemeanor assault.

Penalties for Class 2 Misdemeanor Assault

Unsurprisingly, penalties for class 2 assault are more severe than what you would get for a class 3 charge.

We can start again with jail time. This time around, your jail sentence quadruples to 120 days. It is not that difficult to imagine how being in jail for that long could damage your life.

The maximum probationary period for an individual charged with class 2 assault also increases. It goes all the way up to two years.

The penalties from before such as fines, community service, and attending anger management classes also return for class 2 misdemeanor assault charges.

Class 1 Misdemeanor Assault

Finally, we have the assault charges that are classified as class 1 misdemeanors. They are the most serious of all the misdemeanor charges in Arizona.

To be found guilty of class 1 misdemeanor assault, the prosecutor must prove that you either knowingly or intentionally injured someone.

Punching someone during an argument can be classified as a class 1 misdemeanor offense. You knew what you were doing, and you also knew how it could impact the other party, and you went through with it anyway. The prosecution can establish your intent in that scenario.

Knowingly injuring someone is a bit different than intentionally doing so. If you knowingly injure someone, it is possible that there was no intent on your part to cause harm. Even so, you should have known that your actions could have injured someone around you.

Throwing bottles or chairs around inside a bar is dangerous, and any reasonable adult would know that. If you were not drunk and yet engaged in those dangerous activities, you could receive a class 1 assault if you hit someone with one of the objects you threw.

Penalties for Class 1 Misdemeanor Assault

The penalties for a class 1 misdemeanor assault charge are harsh.

Jail time for this type of offense can last up to six months. Your probationary period can also extend to three years.

Yet again, they could impose other penalties like fines, community service, and attending anger management classes on those who commit a class 1 misdemeanor assault.

What Are Common Defenses against Misdemeanor Assault Charges in Arizona?

The penalties for misdemeanor assault charges in Arizona can change your life. You may not think that spending one month in jail is a big deal, but so much can happen during that time. The fines can be onerous as well.

Guilty parties also need to deal with all the fallout from their conviction.

False assault charges can be ruinous. You need to fight against them properly. Partnering with a skilled and experienced lawyer will help you mount the defense you need in these cases.

Listed below are some commonly used defenses against misdemeanor assault charges.

Lack of Intent or Awareness

Class 1 misdemeanor assault charges are the toughest to prove in court because there is a high bar to clear. Proving that someone either intentionally or knowingly injured someone is not easy because we cannot get into each other’s heads.

If the state charges you with this kind of crime, expect your lawyer to focus on the intent or awareness aspect of what happened.

They can argue that you did not intentionally injure the other person. They may claim that an accident is what caused the injury.

Proving that you were not aware that you could injure someone when you did is trickier. Your lawyer could argue that you were not in the right state of mind when you committed that violent act.

Acting in Defense

Attacking someone is regarded as a violent and unnecessary act. However, there are instances where you can justify your decision.

Your lawyer could argue that you were acting in self-defense when you technically assaulted someone. They could point out the fact that the other party provoked you.

It is also possible that the other party committed a class 2 misdemeanor when they threatened you with a raised fist and their other hand on your shirt collar. At that point, you could have reasonably assumed that you were about to be attacked so you fought back.

Self-defense is a valid defense not only if you are the one being harmed or threatened.

You can also justify your actions by saying that you were defending another person. If you can prove that you hit someone because you came to another person’s defense, you are more likely to receive a favorable outcome in court.

A Necessary Action

There are rare instances where a form of assault may have been necessary because of an emergency.

For example, the building you are in may be on fire. You are looking for the exit, but someone is blocking it for whatever reason.

At that point, you can push them out of the way and justify your decision. The court may decide that your actions were necessary because the other party was unreasonable during that situation.

Your Constitutional Rights Were Violated

Lawyers can also examine the events involving law enforcement that transpired in your case in search of potential violations. To be more specific, they may be looking for instances where law enforcement officials violated your constitutional rights.

Police officers who arrest you without a warrant and/or fail to read you your Miranda rights may be guilty of committing those violations. They may have also failed to allow you to talk with your lawyer within a reasonable amount of time after arresting you.

The law does not look fondly upon those constitutional violations. You may be cleared of your charges simply because the police officers did not play by the rules.

What Is Aggravated Assault?

We now know all about misdemeanor assault offenses in Arizona. Do note, however, that misdemeanor assault is not the only criminal offense of that nature that is detailed in Arizona law. You also have crimes that are classified as forms of aggravated assault.

Aggravated assault cases are like the offenses we mentioned earlier in that they both may involve people getting injured. You should also know that aggravated assault is a felony, meaning it carries some substantial penalties.

Additional circumstances can turn ordinary assault cases into aggravated assault cases, though.

Let’s examine what those circumstances are below.

The Severity of the Injury Caused

How severe the injury turns out to be can affect whether they charge you with assault or aggravated assault.

If you disfigure the affected party, fracture a bone, or lose organ function due to their injury, the law can charge the assailant with aggravated assault. That may be the case even if those lingering effects prove to be temporary.

You can also be charged with aggravated assault if you caused a “serious physical injury”.

The Status of the Victim

The status of the victim involved in the case can also impact what kind of charge they ultimately hand down.

Crimes against minors are always taken seriously by the law. They can charge an assailant assaulting someone under the age of fifteen with aggravated assault.

Aggravated assault also accounts for those cases where the assailant harmed someone who already had an order of protection out against them. Assaulting someone who is restrained or otherwise unable to offer any resistance is also considered aggravated assault.

A person can also be charged with aggravated assault if they injured a law enforcement official, a healthcare worker, or a teacher who was on school grounds.

Other Circumstances That Can Lead to Aggravated Assault Charges

Aggravated assault occurs if someone uses a deadly weapon, a simulated deadly weapon, or some other dangerous instrument. Going into someone else’s home with the intent of harming them is aggravated assault.

Lastly, committing assault when you are already in custody will lead to greater penalties. You could wind up ruining your life if you fail to behave while you are already incarcerated.

Assault charges carry some significant penalties in Arizona, and rightfully so. Those harsh penalties are not limited to aggravated assault charges because even misdemeanor offenses must be duly punished.

Fight back against any false assault charges put forth against you. Reach out to us at the Schill Law Group and we will ensure that the truth comes out in your case.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Arizona?




How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in Arizona?

Getting into the driver’s seat of your vehicle after drinking is one of the biggest mistakes you could ever make, and it is one that can stay with you for a long time. So, how long does a DUI stay on your record? That is one of the questions we will be answering in this article.

Not all mistakes that people make are equal. Some can have consequences that are significantly more harmful than others. Driving under the influence is one of those costly mistakes.

Find out how long that will stick with you as an Arizona resident by continuing with this article. You can also pick up tips on how to handle the DUI conviction on your record by reading on.

How Long Will a DUI Conviction Stay on Your Record in Arizona?

Your criminal record can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Individuals with blemishes on their criminal record may find it difficult to land a job, gain admission to a school, or receive approval for low-income housing.

It is also important to point out here that prior convictions can come back to haunt you. The presence of an earlier DUI charge can lead to you receiving harsher punishment.

How long the DUI conviction will affect you is one of the things you must find out. There are two ways to answer that question.

You can approach it by finding out how long an earlier conviction can affect any additional charges put forth against you. The other way involves figuring out how to clear any prior convictions.

Let’s talk about those matters in greater detail below.

How Long Can a Prior DUI Conviction Affect New Charges Made Against You?

First, let’s discuss how long a previous DUI charge can affect your current legal predicament as an Arizona resident.

Arizona law imposes harsher penalties if an individual is guilty of driving under the influence multiple times within a certain period. To be more specific, you can wind up facing stiffer penalties if you commit multiple DUI violations within 84 months.

The escalation of penalties will also depend specifically on what violation you committed.

Penalties for a Second DUI Violation within 84 Months

Let’s first look at what penalties you may face if you drive under the influence two times within 84 months.

You are staring at a potentially long jail sentence if you have two multiple DUI violations within 7 years. The minimum jail sentence for repeat offenders is 90 days. Guilty parties must also serve at least 30 days of that sentence consecutively.

Offenders will also receive a larger fine if they commit two DUI violations in a span of 7 years. The minimum fine for your first offense is $1,250. Upon being charged a second time, that fine will more than double to $3,000.

An individual guilty of driving under the influence will also have their license suspended for a certain period. If it was your first offense, they will suspend your license for 90 days. For the second offense, the suspension period will last for 12 months.

Community service is another component of the punishment that DUI offenders must face. There is no minimum amount of community service you must render if you are a first-time offender. However, repeat offenders will have to clock at least 30 hours of community service.

Penalties for a Second Extreme DUI Violation within 84 Months

A second extreme DUI violation within 84 months also nets you larger penalties. For those who may be unaware, an extreme DUI violation occurs when an individual is driving a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.15 percent.

Starting with jail time again, offenders will spend a long time behind bars. Jail time goes up 120 days from the previous minimum of 30 days.

Offenders will also pay a more expensive fine. After getting fined $2,500 for their first extreme DUI conviction, that mandatory payment will go up to $3,250 for a second violation within 7 years.

They will also suspend your driving privileges for 12 months after a second extreme DUI violation. Violators are also required to render 30 hours of community if their second extreme DUI charge sticks.

Penalties for an Aggravated DUI Violation

What happens if you commit three or more DUI violations within 84 months? If that happens, you will face an aggravated DUI charge.

You will be sentenced to a stint in prison instead of jail if you are guilty of aggravated DUI. The prison sentence will last at least 4 months.

It is also worth noting that an aggravated DUI charge is considered a felony in Arizona. Having a felony conviction on your record can be difficult. Avoid ever putting yourself in a situation where you could potentially commit this kind of crime.

How Do You Clear a Previous DUI Conviction?

We now know more about how prior DUI convictions can affect new penalties you may potentially face. As it turns out, those earlier convictions can put you in a tough spot.

With that in mind, you may be wondering if there is something you can do about those prior convictions. Would it be possible to get those DUI convictions removed from your record?

In some states, expunging your criminal record is possible. You are essentially given an opportunity to start over without your earlier transgressions weighing you down. Or at least, people who are not privy to those earlier convictions will not find anything about them.

Notably, Arizona does not provide that legal tool. Instead, what the state offers is something known as “setting aside a conviction.”

What Does “Setting Aside a Conviction” Mean?

Setting aside a conviction is what Arizona has as a functional equivalent to expungement. The two legal mechanisms are not completely the same, though.

Expungement means that they will remove any prior arrests or convictions from your record.

Other states offer something like expungement, and it comes in the form of sealing records. Basically, they will seal your criminal record, and individuals will not view it whenever they want to. Sealed criminal records can usually only be opened after a court order is issued.

Setting aside a conviction works differently from those two.

First, they do not clear your record if they set a conviction aside. If someone looks at your criminal record, they will still see that you drove under the influence in the past.

Furthermore, setting aside a conviction will also do nothing to limit who can see your criminal record. An employer can look up that record and see your earlier conviction.

At this point, you may be asking what the point of setting aside a conviction even is. If everyone can still see your convictions, is it worth pursuing?


Setting aside the conviction can still benefit you because it is an order indicating that “the person be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction.” It will let anyone viewing your record know that you have been held responsible for that conviction already and that you finished what the state required of you.

Is Getting a Conviction Set Aside Worth It?

Whether or not getting a conviction set aside will be worth the effort is up to you to decide.

Still, it may be easier to talk about a prior conviction with a potential employer if they set the conviction on your record aside. You can talk about what happened if you like and explain that you have done everything by the law to earn back your freedom.

Getting a conviction set aside can make it easier for you to show an employer that you have grown as a person. It shows that you have moved past that point in your life when you were irresponsible and reckless.

Can All Convictions Be Set Aside?

Not all convictions can be set aside in Arizona. The following convictions cannot be set aside:

  • Crimes with a Sexual Motivation
  • Crimes That Required a Defendant to Register as a Sex Offender
  • Crimes That Led to Serious Physical Injury
  • Crimes That Involved the Use or Exhibition of a Deadly Weapon
  • Crimes That Involved a Victim under fifteen

Those are the main categories of convictions that cannot be set aside. Any conviction that falls under one of those categories will remain untouched on your record permanently.

There are some driving-related offenses as well that cannot be set aside. Crucially, though, a DUI conviction is not one of them. You can get your prior DUI conviction set aside after following the appropriate procedure.

What Is the Process of Setting Aside a Conviction in Arizona?

The process of getting a conviction set aside in Arizona is straightforward. Follow the steps below if you want to go through the process as well.

Step 1: Acquire and Fill Out the Appropriate Forms

To get the process started, you must first obtain some forms.

You will need an application to Set Aside Conviction. Apart from that, you may also need a Certificate of Absolute Discharge from Imprisonment and/or a document detailing your Discharge from Probation. Secure whichever documents apply in your case.

Other documents may also be required depending on the circumstances of your case.

Also note here that the required documents will change depending on what conviction you want to have set aside. You will need different documents to set aside a misdemeanor and different documents to set aside a felony.

Step 2: File the Forms

The next step is to file the filled-out forms. Visit the Clerk’s Office in your county and have the Clerk process your documents. The Clerk will stamp and date the documents you submitted.

They will return some copies of documents after they process them.

Petitioners also have the option of sending the forms via mail, depositing them in a depository box, or filing them online. Talk to a lawyer about how the process of filing will go depending on your chosen method.

For those hoping to get a felony conviction set aside, they must also send the forms to the prosecutor covering their area.

Step 3.1: Receive Notice That the Conviction Has Been Set Aside

The process can now take on one of four branching paths after you filed the appropriate forms. The first is the simplest.

Upon receiving your request to get a conviction set aside, the court may decide to approve it right away. In that case, they will send a copy of the order to you.

Step 3.2: Attend a Hearing

The court may also decide to set a hearing regarding your petition. Attend the hearing together with your lawyer and prepare to answer some questions.

During that hearing, the court may seek arguments from both your side and the prosecutor regarding the matter of setting aside the conviction. If the prosecutor does not agree with your petition, they will argue against you. You and your lawyer must also form an argument indicating why your conviction must be set aside.

The court will make a final decision regarding your petition after the hearing.

Step 3.3: Follow the Court’s Supplemental Orders

Instead of deciding on your petition, the court may instruct you to complete certain actions first. That means you probably failed to complete certain steps that are necessary to get a conviction set aside. Finish those tasks first if you want to find out the court’s ruling.

Step 3.4: Receive Notice That the Conviction Has Not Been Set Aside

The court may also deny your petition to get a conviction set aside. They may decide to do so depending on different factors.

Tough as it is to find out that they denied your petition, all is not lost. You can still file another petition in the future and perhaps make a different argument then.

It is also possible that the court denied your petition because not enough time has passed since you completed your sentence. The court may approve your petition after more time has elapsed.

Figure out how to properly deal with the aftermath of a DUI charge by working with us at the Schill Law Firm. Contact us today to learn how we can help with your case.

Got a DUI in Arizona, Now What?



Got a DUI in Arizona, Now What?

All of us are prone to making ill-advised decisions from time to time. It could be something minor like a poorly timed purchase or something more serious like committing a DUI violation.

Of course, those ill-advised decisions do not happen in a vacuum. They come with consequences that we must face. DUI violations are known to carry harsh penalties, and justifiably so.

To fully grasp the weight of your actions, it helps to know what they entail. Throughout this article, we will talk about driving under the influence violations and the penalties they impose upon guilty Arizona motorists.

Find out what happens if you are found guilty of driving under the influence in Arizona by continuing with this article.

What Constitutes a DUI Violation in the State of Arizona?

To get things started, let’s first define what constitutes a driving under the influence violation in the state of Arizona.

Arizona law indicates that it is illegal for any person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle if they are under the influence of specific substances. Those substances can be quite varied.

The law states that motorists can be charged with driving under the influence after consuming intoxicating liquor, using any drug, or a vapor-releasing substance that contains a toxic substance. If a driver is impaired even to the “slightest degree,” they will be staring at a potential violation.

DUI Violations and Drugs

Some people mistakenly assume that DUI violations only involve operating your vehicle after drinking alcohol. That is not the case. Motorists can also receive a violation if they were taking drugs before getting behind the wheel of their vehicle.

Per Arizona law, the presence of certain drugs or even their metabolites in your body can already be considered a violation. Considering that low threshold for a potential violation, you should never risk taking a drug and then driving.

Section 13-3401 of Arizona features the long list of drugs that can potentially trigger a DUI violation.

Notably, marijuana is still listed among those substances. Although Arizona has relaxed many of its laws regarding marijuana possession and usage, there are still limits imposed upon the substance. Among them is the fact that you cannot use marijuana and drive your car shortly after.

It is worth pointing out authorities grant exemptions for certain drugs under specific circumstances. If the drug is prescribed by a medical practitioner, they will not charge you with driving under the influence.

DUI Violations and Vapor-Releasing Substances

DUI violations involving vapor-releasing substances which contain toxic substances are rare, but they can still happen. Now, you may be wondering which substances we are talking about. After all, the term “vapor-releasing substances containing toxic substances” can be vague.

Arizona law does clarify matters, though. The substances being referred to here are paints and varnishes dispensed by using an aerosol spray. It may also be a type of glue.

Meanwhile, the list of “toxic substances” is quite long. Section 13-3403 of Arizona law lists those toxic substances in detail.

DUI Violations and Alcohol

Many DUI violations are connected to alcohol. For more than a few individuals, the temptation to drive after a night of drinking is one, they cannot avoid. That is the case even though there are alternatives available.

Arizona motorists should also know that the threshold for a DUI violation related to alcohol consumption is remarkably low. Motorists can catch a DUI violation if their blood alcohol concentration level is above 0.08 percent.

To put that into context, a person who weighs around 100 pounds could exceed that blood alcohol level if they drink three 12-ounce cans of beer. You may be mindlessly enjoying drinks at the bar while unaware that you have already exceeded the alcohol consumption threshold.

By the way, the 0.08 percent limit only applies to those who are using private vehicles. If you are operating a commercial vehicle, the threshold is set even lower at 0.04 percent.

The bottom line is that you do not want to drink and drive for any reason. Even if you are monitoring your alcohol consumption, it is still not a good idea. You are better off taking a cab or booking a ride home instead of driving.

Penalties for a DUI Violation

There are different types of DUI charges. For now, let’s start with the basic DUI charge.

The first time you are caught driving your vehicle with a blood alcohol above 0.08 percent or driving a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol level above 0.04 percent, they will charge you with driving under the influence. The penalties that follow will be quite significant.

First off, you could be looking at potential jail time. For a DUI violation, you could get at least ten days in jail. You will need to serve that jail sentence if you are convicted because you will not be eligible for probation or to have your sentence suspended.

Ten days in jail may not seem like much, but you must consider how else that sentence could impact your life. You may lose your job because of that, and you may miss out on important events as well.

You will also have to pay a fine due to your violation. At a minimum, you will pay $1,250.

The state will also suspend your driving privileges after you are hit with a DUI charge. The suspension period will span 90 days at least, but it could easily extend well beyond that.

Other penalties you may face include rendering community service, undergoing alcohol screening, education, and treatment. Your vehicle may also have a certified ignition interlock device installed.

Penalties for Subsequent DUI Violations

The penalties for your first DUI violation are harsh. However, the penalties for committing subsequent DUI violations within a period of 84 months are even more punishing.

Beginning with jail time again, you are now looking at a sentence of 90 days. Note that 90 days in jail is the minimum and not the maximum sentence for repeat offenders. You must also serve at least 30 of those 90 days consecutively.

Once again, individuals found guilty of a DUI violation will not be eligible for probation or to have their sentence suspended.

The minimum fine spikes to $3,000 for repeat offenders. They will also need to render at least 30 hours of community service.

Offenders are also required to undergo alcohol education, screening, and treatment and to have their vehicle equipped with a certified ignition interlock device like with first-time offenders.

A notable difference can be seen in how driving privileges are handled for first-time and repeat offenders.

Whereas first-time offenders had their driving privileges suspended for 90 days, repeat offenders are looking at a stiffer penalty in that regard. They will deal with their driver’s license being suspended for at least 12 months.

Penalties for an Extreme DUI Violation

Extreme driving under the influence violations are reserved for occasions when an offender registers a blood alcohol level above 0.15. That is about five to nine 12-ounce beers depending on your weight.

There is no excuse for driving when you have consumed that much alcohol. The penalties for an extreme DUI violation are especially harsh to discourage that type of behavior.

The minimum jail sentence for an extreme DUI violation is 30 days. Once again, you must serve that sentence on consecutive days. If your blood alcohol level is at 0.20 or higher, the minimum jail sentence becomes 45 days.

Fines also spike considerably. The minimum fine for an extreme DUI violation is $2,500.

Additional penalties we have mentioned earlier, such as community service, license suspension, alcohol education, screening, and treatment, as well as the certified ignition interlock device are still imposed.

Penalties for Subsequent Extreme DUI Violations

Penalties escalate if you are charged with an extreme DUI violation more than once within a span of 84 months.

The most notable differences come in the form of a longer jail sentence, a larger fine, an extended suspension period, and more community service. To be more specific, offenders will spend no fewer than 120 days in jail, pay a fine no less than $3,250, go without their driver’s license for at least 12 months, and render at least 30 hours of community service.

The supplemental penalties we have already talked about are also imposed again.

Penalties for an Aggravated DUI Violation

Aggravated driving under the influence violations can be assessed depending on different factors.

You may be hit with this offense if you were driving under the influence while holding only a suspended or revoked license. Individuals found driving under the influence a third time within 84 months are also charged with this crime.

The prison sentence for those individuals will be no shorter than four months.

You may also be charged with aggravated DUI if a person under fifteen was in the vehicle with you. In that case, the penalties are in line with DUI or extreme DUI charges.

Guilty parties will also receive many of the same penalties we have discussed throughout this article.

What You Must Do after Committing a DUI Violation

Let’s say that you suffered from a momentary lapse of judgment and drove after drinking. Not long after that decision, a police officer arrested you.

What should you do now?

Detailed below are some of the things you can expect to happen following your arrest for the DUI violation. We have also laid out the steps you need to take as you attempt to recover from your mistake.

Cooperate with Law Enforcement

After receiving a citation for driving under the influence, the worst thing you can do is to resist arrest or act in a disorderly manner. At that point, you are only making matters worse.

The police officer may also inform you that they will tow your vehicle. You cannot do anything about that while you are under arrest, so get the details from the police officer. Handle that later.

You will be processed once you arrive at the police station. This process could take a long time but be patient and use this as an opportunity to sober up.

Contact Your Lawyer

During the booking process, a law enforcement officer may start to ask you some questions. You are probably not in the best state of mind to answer those questions. Even if you are not drunk, answering questions from a police officer without a lawyer present can be risky.

This is the time when you should request to contact your lawyer. Let the police officer know that you will not be answering any more questions until your lawyer is present. Avoid getting in any further trouble by taking this step.

Post Bail if Necessary

Most individuals in Arizona may be released after the police book them. If that is the case, you can rest at home for a bit while preparing to deal with the aftermath of your actions.

However, there are also some cases where you may be required to post bail before you are released. Contact a family member or a friend and ask them to post bail for you if possible.

There is a chance that none of your friends or family members have the money to post bail for you. In that scenario, you will need to turn to a bail bondsman for assistance. A bail bondsman will charge a fee for their services, but you may not have a choice other than to rely on them.

Appear in Court

Once they set a court date for your arraignment, you must be there on time with your lawyer. Your lawyer will let you know what the best course of action will be, depending on the facts in your case. It is best to lean on their experience as they have gone through many years of handling DUI cases.

Accept Any Penalties

If you are guilty of driving under the influence, the only thing you can do is accept the penalties heading your way. Pay your fines, serve your community, and go through your jail or prison sentence. Accept any restrictions that have been imposed upon you temporarily as well.

Dealing with all those penalties will not be pleasant. However, doing so is necessary if you want to recover from your big mistake.

DUI defendants need to partner up with lawyers who have extensive experience when it comes to handling these cases. We at the Schill Law Group have the experience that DUI defendants will need. Reach out to us today and let’s fight the mistaken DUI charge being made against you.

Questions to Ask Your DUI Lawyer



Questions to Ask Your DUI Lawyer

The prospect of facing a DUI charge is intimidating, and it can even be downright scary. You need a DUI lawyer on your side to fight that charge.

The success of your defense could be significantly impacted by who you decide to hire as your lawyer. Settle for someone without the requisite level of skill and experience, and you could soon be on the way to jail. Even if the facts of the case are in your favor, a slam dunk defense could turn into a dicey affair because you hired the wrong lawyer.

So, how can you ensure that you hire the right lawyer? It helps to ask the right questions.

In this article, we have highlighted the questions you must ask the DUI lawyer you are thinking of hiring. Gauge their responses carefully and see if you are comfortable with them representing you.

Determining Who Your Lawyer Will Be

When you get in touch with a law firm and seek their assistance, you will likely talk to different people there. During your conversations, you may start to develop strong impressions of the people at the firm and want a specific lawyer there to represent you in your case.

It is important to determine who your lawyer will be before you decide to partner with a specific firm. Asking the questions below should help you obtain the answer you need.

What Is Your Current Caseload?

If you want to ascertain a lawyer’s availability without directly asking, inquiring about their current caseload is a good way to go about it. Find out if they are currently juggling several cases.

Asking about your preferred lawyer’s current caseload helps you understand if they can take on your case. Doing so will also let you know how high you up are on their current list of priorities. You do not want to end up low on that totem pole and end up with your case potentially getting neglected.

Will You Be the Lawyer Handling My Case?

Perhaps you are not a fan of beating around the bush. In that case, you can be more direct and ask the lawyer you are speaking to directly if they will be the one to represent you.

Putting forth this question can also help you secure a commitment from the lawyer you want on your side. It is worth asking if you are up for it.

Will You Be the One to Show Up to Court with Me?

Also, ask if the lawyer you are speaking to will show up with you in court. You obviously do not want them pulling the bait and switch on you, so secure this commitment from them as well.

Learning More about the Experience Level of Your DUI Lawyer

You should take the time to know more about the legal professional who will potentially be your representative at the trial. Are they capable of playing good defense for you? The questions we have included below should you obtain your answer.

How Long Have You Been a DUI Lawyer?

Experience matters in DUI cases. You do not want to hand the reins to your case over to an inexperienced lawyer. Their inexperience could prove costly.

It is not only inexperience when it comes to handling cases that you should inquire about. Go ahead and ask about how long they have been a DUI lawyer as well.

DUI cases can be nuanced.

You do not want your lawyer missing something important because they have not handled a lot of DUI cases in the past. Even if they have many years of working as a legal professional under their belt, you still need them to have specific experience about your current predicament.

How Many DUI Cases Do You Handle Per Year?

Partnering with a lawyer who has plenty of experience when it comes to working DUI cases would be ideal. However, you need to ask about how recently they acquired that experience.

Being experienced is great, but it may not mean as much if they have not personally handled a case in years.

As much as possible, you should seek out a lawyer who has remained relatively active. Ask about how many cases they handle each year to get a read on that.

How Long Have You Been a Practicing DUI Lawyer in This Area?

Familiarity can give lawyers an edge in the courtroom. If they know how to handle matters in a certain place, they can operate more effectively.

You should ask how long your lawyer has been practicing in your neck of the woods. Gauge how well they know the area because that will undoubtedly matter in your case.

Go ahead and ask as well if they have dealt with the prosecutor in your area before. While you are at it, ask if they have any prior history with the judge for your case.

Their prior history can have insight into how your case may potentially go. Hopefully, what you learn will shine a favorable light on the potential outcome of your case. If you are not seeing that, it is not too late to go in a different direction.

Have You Worked as a Prosecutor Before?

It is not uncommon for some defense lawyers to start out as prosecutors. You should ask the attorney you are talking to if they have that previous working experience.

To be clear, hiring a DUI lawyer who has previous experience working as a prosecutor is a good thing.

First off, prosecutors-turned-defenders have a better grasp of how the other side may tackle your case. They can also predict which areas may serve as weak spots in the prosecution’s case.

Even if you will have a tough time being found not guilty, your defender’s prior experience working as a prosecutor can still come in handy. They can use their experience to strike better plea deals with the other side. They may even know the prosecutor in your case, and that could lead to you landing a more favorable deal.

Is My Case Similar to Anything You’ve Handled Before?

DUI cases are not typically known for including unusual elements, but that is still a possibility.

For example, you may be charged with aggravated DUI, but the conviction is hinging on some complex technicalities. You need to know that your lawyer can understand those complexities.

Ask your lawyer if they have handled something like your current case. You do not want them to react with surprise upon seeing your case file.

Have You Ever Been Disciplined by the State Bar?

There are certain red flags you need to look for before deciding if you should hire a particular lawyer. Something that warrants a closer look is the lawyer’s history as it pertains to the state bar.

Ask the lawyer you are speaking to if they have ever been disciplined by the state bar. While you are at it, ask if they have by other state bars.

Being disciplined does not automatically mean that a lawyer cannot defend you well. That may have just been a lapse in judgment. Since then, they may have demonstrated nothing but responsible behavior towards all their clients and cases.

All that said, you cannot ignore their disciplinary history. Try asking about what happened if they do have a disciplinary record. That should clue you in to whether the legal professional you are speaking to is someone you want as your lawyer.

Ascertaining Your DUI Lawyer’s Credentials

Every lawyer goes through a long and difficult journey to earn a degree as a legal professional. There is no denying the fact that they have earned their status.

However, you should still check to see if a particular lawyer is well suited to handle a DUI case. You can do that by checking on how they have kept up with their education. Asking the questions below should help.

Have You Talked to Police Officers about DUI Cases?

Lawyers can specialize in different areas if they want to.

According to LawyerEdu.org, certification areas in Arizona include bankruptcy law, criminal law, estate, and trust law, family law, personal injury and wrongful death, real estate law, tax law, and workers’ compensation law.

As you can see, DUI is not a specific area of specialization. Still, lawyers can gain supplemental knowledge and experience in that field by talking to other professionals.

Talking to police officers for additional knowledge and experience should prove helpful as a lawyer. Go ahead and ask if that is something they do regularly.

Are You Board Certified by the National College for DUI Defense?

Certain organizations offer certification to lawyers who undergo additional education to build upon their knowledge base. The National College for DUI Defense (NCDD) is the organization in charge of that when it comes to driving under the influence cases.

To receive certification from the NCDD, lawyers must pass written and oral examinations related to the field of DUI.

NCDD members benefit greatly from being certified. The organization gives them access to the latest resources related to driving under the influence cases. They can check out the latest scientific studies on alcohol, drugs, testing devices, testing accuracy, and other relevant matters.

Lawyers are also given additional training so they can wield specific trial techniques better. The organization also helps them find reputable experts who can prove immensely helpful during a trial.

It is easy to see how a DUI lawyer can benefit from being certified by the NCDD. You should ask your lawyer if they are a member of that organization.

Understanding Your DUI Lawyer’s Approach

There is no one way to handle a DUI case. Some lawyers may prefer a particular approach over the other available options.

It is important to understand what approach your lawyer employs. Once you know that, you can figure out if their preferred approach works for you.

How Often Do You Go to Trial?

Going to trial is not necessarily a good or a bad thing.

On one hand, heading to trial could clear your name completely. That gives you a chance to forget about the whole ordeal once the trial is over.

On the other hand, going through a trial can be a stressful ordeal. Some individuals may want to do whatever they can to avoid the courtroom.

You should find out what your lawyer’s attitude is as it pertains to trials. See if their approach aligns with your preferences before hiring them.

How Often Do You Go for Plea Deals or Dismissals?

Like with going to trial, seeking a plea deal or a dismissal in a case is not a good or bad thing either.

There are instances where seeking a plea deal could be the sensible move for your part. You do not want to partner with a lawyer who is opposed to negotiating a plea deal no matter the circumstances. The lawyer you hire should be open to any option if it puts you in the best situation legally.

Additional Questions to Ask Your DUI Lawyer

Let’s wrap things up by highlighting some other essential questions that you should ask any DUI lawyer offering their services to you.

Will I Have to Pay Additional Fees if We Go to Trial?

Some lawyers may advertise a certain fee but then charge something different depending on how your case progresses. To be more specific, they may charge you extra if your case heads to trial. They may also charge you more to bring in experts and to secure some forms of evidence.

Ask your lawyer right away if the payment they are seeking covers everything. You do not want to be caught off guard by additional expenses while the trial is underway.

How Quickly Will You Respond to My Questions?

Being charged with driving under the influence can be stressful. You may feel uneasy as your case slowly develops. During that time, you may have questions for your lawyer.

You should ask your lawyer how quickly they can respond to your questions. Ask them as well if it is okay for you to contact them on weekends.

Set your expectations when it comes to how quickly your lawyer can respond so you can alleviate the stress you are experiencing.

Do you need a DUI lawyer in Arizona? We at the Schill Law Group are here to offer our services. Contact us today, ask us any questions you have, and let us help you through your current ordeal.