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Phoenix Criminal Defense Law Blog

Traces of THC not enough to be charged with drugged driving

A major victory for medicinal marijuana advocates came down as the Arizona Supreme Court ruled on a controversial case regarding a DUI conviction for drugged driving. According to an report, the state attempted to prosecute a driver who had a metabolite of marijuana in his system for after he was cited for a traffic violation.

While a trial court judge initially threw out the conviction, the state sought an appeal; arguing that any amount of THC in a driver’s system could subject him or her to prosecution. After an appeals court ruled that the statute governing such DUIs must be broadly interpreted, the case advanced to the state supreme court. 

Can debit cards reduce theft related crimes

A generation ago, burglaries and robberies were commonly prompted by the need for quick cash. After all, dollar bills have no distinct security features to distinguish a particular owner. Therefore, a purse or a wallet would carry significant appeal because of how quickly the cash could be spent on something else; usually drugs or other forms of contraband. It would also make people who looked like they had cash easy targets for street crime.  

Teen accused of sexual assault could be tried as an adult

A sixteen-year-old boy is being held in the Maricopa County Juvenile Court Center after being arrested and charged with several crimes in connection with the alleged assault of a 19-year-old woman. According to police, the assault reportedly took place near the Phoenix Canal at 20th Street and Baseline Road.

Authorities believe that the boy pulled the woman into a secluded area and began choking her until she became unconscious, when he then is alleged to have sexually assaulted her. Witnesses reportedly thought the altercation was a fight, and notified police. The boy is charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping, sexual assault and sexual abuse, all of which are felony charges. 

April Fool's joke leads to felony charges

April Fool’s Day jokes are commonly funny anecdotes of humor, but sometimes they may be taken too seriously and lead to trouble. Such is likely the case of a man who tried to fool jewelers at a mall store in Tempe. According to an report, the man is being charged with felony theft as he is accused of swapping a diamond worth an estimated $25,000 with a cubic zirconia stone. 

Baggage handlers arrested in airport theft probe

Having luggage lost when you travel is always annoying, especially considering how airlines commonly charge for carrying it. Arguably, many travelers still have not gotten used to shelling out money for what used to be a complimentary service that went on for generations. With cramped overhead compartments now dominating planes, more travelers were likely to have bags checked at the gate; a practice that did not require a fee from the airlines.

Unfortunately for some travelers, thieves knew this as well, and a number of theft rings likely developed as a result. Authorities recently unearthed such a scheme at the Los Angeles International Airport. 

Teller convicted in bank robbery scheme

The scenario is fairly common in attempted bank robberies; a person, who supposedly is armed, forces people to lay face down while a bank teller gives the robber money, the robber then leaves under the threat that if anyone moves, he or she may get hurt. The common notion behind bank robberies is that the thief works alone. However, there are some instances where he or she may have inside help.

This is the thought behind the arrest and subsequent conviction of a former bank teller from El Mirage.

More charges against Darren Sharper. This time in Arizona

As former NFL player Darren Sharper seeks a ruling on a no-bail warrant issued last week, additional criminal charges have surfaced. This time, a grand jury in Arizona has indicted sharper on five criminal counts stemming from an alleged encounter with two women in Tempe during November 2013.

According to a recent LA Times report, Sharper is alleged to have visited a woman and her two friends and went with them to a couple of bars in Scottsdale. At one of the bars, the woman began acting abnormally even though she had not had much alcohol. The group then returned to the woman’s apartment where her friends put her to bed. 

Arizona employs diversion program for alleged sex workers

Sex work has likely been around as long as humans have existed. Thousands of women are caught up in human trafficking in the United States, and various organizations around the country try to help them escape from that life.

In Arizona police and activists are engaged in a controversial program which takes sex workers off the streets and into a church. Once at the church those who qualify for the program are given the option of a possible conviction and jail time or the diversion program ran by the church. The program is under fire from some because the women brought in by police aren't officially arrested and aren't given access to an attorney before making a decision whether to participate or not. Another complaint about the program is that it does little for the women who claim they are comfortable and even proud of being a sex worker. The program has a 35 percent success rate, according to its founder.

State worker arrested on drug charges

Marijuana in the United States is getting a face lift, and the decades old label as a hard drug is slowly, but surely, being replaced with a label of medical and recreational use. The same cannot be said of any other Schedule One drugs, such as LSD, ecstasy or heroin. A majority of the remaining Schedule One drugs are still viewed by society as a major harm to be avoided whenever possible. This thinking has created a strong and, sometimes, all encompassing stigma against those that use, even recreationally.

An Arizona state Child Protective Service worker was arrested by police after she allegedly attempted to purchase drugs from an undercover officer. The sting started after the police received a tip from one of the woman's clients that she was attempting to purchase drugs from them.

Arizona lawmakers ponder decriminalization and legalization

Marijuana has had a long history in the United States. At one point in American history, the plant was widely accepted and its uses ranged from making paper to treating illnesses. Various societal factors conspired to lead to the criminalization of the substance. As jails and prisons across the United States fill past capacity, cartel violence becomes common place, and states' coffers sit empty, the government's view of marijuana is rapidly changing.

Arizona lawmakers have drafted two separate bills that propose to mitigate or end the criminal legacy of marijuana in their state. Rep. Cardenas, who was once an opponent of marijuana use, has drafted a bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession of up to two pounds. His bill, HB 2474 subjects those who possess the drug without intent to sell to fines rather than jail. HB 2474 stops at decriminalization, while another bill signed onto by Cardenas would legalize recreational use of marijuana. Though he was once against marijuana legalization, the lawmaker credits education and a university class on drugs and justice with his change of heart.