Case Success: Aggravated DUI AZ

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I’m Burges McCowan, criminal defense attorney here in the Phoenix area. I’m going to talk to you about a recent case I had, an aggravated DUI. That’s ARS 28-1383.

Ben was an old client of mine who we went to trial on a DUI and won. Unfortunately, he got another DUI. This time they were charging it as a felony because they were saying that his license was suspended when he got the DUI. Ben and his mom gave me a call to see what I could do. Unfortunately, the case was a lot stronger this time against him. Going to trial was probably not going to work for us. I went through the case word by word and looked for everything I can to help Ben out. I realized that he wasn’t really driving on a suspended license. The government had just charged the case incorrectly.

Surprisingly, this wasn’t caught by the prosecutor and we went way into the case before I finally was able to convince the prosecutor they just didn’t have the evidence to charge this as a felony. Unfortunately, he did still have a prior, which meant that he was looking at six months jail. Ben’s a PhD student. He couldn’t really afford to miss that much time from his studies. It was really going to set him back. I was able to convince this prosecutor that because Ben had done everything he could with rehab and was really a good student who just made a really bad mistake, that he could give him a break and gave him only 30 days jail.

He was able to knock out that jail this summer, and he’ll be right back at school in the fall. If you or a family member you know have ever been faced with something like this, give me a call. I do free consultations and I can help.

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Case Success: Kidnapping and Drugs

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I’m Burges McCowan, criminal defense attorney here in the Phoenix, Arizona, area. I want to talk to you about a recent case I had involving kidnapping. ARS 13-1304.
Steven was my client. He was charged with kidnapping and possible drug sales. This case involved the SWAT team in fact. They really came after Steven hard. It’s because they thought he was a gang member, and probably because it was on September 11th that the call came in. But he wasn’t a gang member. It was really just a dispute with his roommate where Steven used some intimidating language.
The prosecutor still had a case where they charged him with kidnapping and being a gang member. They were considering drug charges as well. When they first got this case, Steven was looking at three to five years prison. The prosecutor was really serious about this case. He wanted him to go to prison, even though he had never had an criminal history at all.
Steven and his parents came to me. I went to work seeing what I could do. I talked to the prosecutor about the case. I explained to him that he wasn’t a gang member, and that they really didn’t have any evidence for that. He gave in on the drug charge, and that was never brought against Steve. He did still go forward with the kidnapping charge, but I was able to get him to go down to probation with no jail. Steven was able to go on with his life without any prison or jail time.
This case was really just a dispute between roommates. His roommate owed him money and called the police and claimed he was being kidnapped. Unfortunately, under Arizona law it doesn’t take a lot to prove kidnapping. In this case I was able to show the prosecutor what really happened. He eventually agreed that he didn’t have the evidence to prove that Steven was some sort of notorious gang member and gave him probation without jail. Now Steven is back to work moving on with his life.
If you or someone you love have ever been faced with something like this, give me a call. I give free consultations and I can help.
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Case Success: Marijuana DUI

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I’m Burges McCowan, criminal defense attorney in the Phoenix, Arizona, area. Today I’m going to talk about a DUI with drugs case that I recently handled.

The client, Amy, was pulled over because she had a marijuana bumper sticker on her vehicle. The officer, knowing that she probably smoked marijuana, went ahead and charged her with DUI. Until recently, here in Arizona, if you had marijuana in your system, they could charge you with a DUI. Didn’t matter if you were actually high or not. That’s what happened to Amy.

Unfortunately, until recently, that was happening to a lot of people, but fortunately for Amy, when she gave me a call, I knew about the recent Arizona Supreme Court case that changed all of that. Now they have to prove that it’s active THC. That only stays in your system for a number of hours instead of weeks.

After reviewing her case and making sure that it applied to her, I took that to the prosecutor and got her case dismissed. I also told her to stop driving around with bumper sticker of marijuana on her car if she doesn’t want to get pulled over again.

If you or someone you know have had this problem before, give me a call. I do free consultations, and I can help.
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Case Success: Posession of Narcotic Drugs for Sale

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This is Burges McCowan, criminal defense attorney here in the Phoenix, Arizona area. I want to talk to you about a case I recently had involving possession of narcotic drugs for sale, ARS13-3408. George is a client of mine that has this case. Unfortunately for him, he was on probation at the time this occurred. He had recently started selling cocaine to try and make extra money, not a very good decision that was about to put him in prison for three to five years. Fortunately, he had been pretty good on probation and it was almost over for him.
When I got the case, I looked through it and realized that if he had successfully completed his probation, it would be turned into a misdemeanor, which means the government wouldn’t have that prior to use against him and they wouldn’t be able to force prison in this case. Usually once a case is already started, it’s pretty hard to get this accomplished, but in this case, I was able to get this probation officer to successfully finish his probation and then got the court to designate it a misdemeanor so that now the government didn’t have any leverage against him.
After all this was done, I called up the prosecutor on the case who just happened to be a former supervisor of mine and let her know that she no longer had this prior available to her. She laughed and said she’d get me next time and gave my client probation. Now he’s back on his way and he knows now that selling cocaine is not a good way to make extra money. If you or a family member you know has had any kind of situation like this, give me a call. I do free consultations and I can help.
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Why you should take Jury Duty seriously

Jury Service is a right not all countries have

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I’m Burges McCowan, criminal defense attorney here in the Phoenix, Arizona area. I want to talk to you about jury service. Ufortunately, as a criminal defense attorney,I’ll never get to sit on a trial; I would certainly love to. What I see when I’m in trial is people doing everything they can to try and get out of it. I understand that; you all have very busy lives, but jury duty is very important. We’re one of the very few countries that actually have people from the community that sit and do juries.
It’s important to have. If everyone opts out of it for whatever excuse they can, the people that are left deciding someone’s fate are not really the people you or I would want deciding someone’s fate. It’s important that we have someone there that can make sure that the government has done what they’re supposed to do, and has proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s a concept that takes a little bit of education to understand.
Ufortunately what I see is most of the educated people feel like they’re above doing jury duty and try to get out of it. Don’t be one of those people. It’s important, and you’re one of the type of people that can actually do a good job on jury duty. It doesn’t take that much time, really. It’s once in a blue moon that you get called in. Go ahead and take it seriously and do a duty to your country, and serve on that jury.
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Good News Arizona! – Police Now Need a Warrant to Search Cell Phones

The US Supreme Court ruled that the police must get a warrant before searching through the contents of someone’s cell phone. The case is Riley v. California. This is great news for Arizonans, and all Americans, who value privacy rights. The Court was unanimous in its decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, and is a sweeping victory for privacy rights.

Roberts noted that the Founding Fathers fought the Revolution in part because of the frustration American colonists felt at the hands of blanket searches by British soldiers without a warrant. He observed that a cell phone has so much personal information, often even more than a house, that allowing police to search it without a warrant would be like allowing them to ransack a person’s home without a warrant.

Roberts wrote, “Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans “the privacies of life.” The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple – get a warrant.”

What this means is when the police stop you on the street, they cannot not seize your phone and look through it without a warrant from a judge. If police ask for your phone, ask them to see their warrant. Even if the police arrest you and take your phone as part of your property, they are not allowed to look through your phone without a warrant. If they do not get a warrant, anything they find will be thrown out of court.

If you or someone you love is facing charges because the police searched a phone without a warrant, give me a call. I am a former prosecutor who now defends your rights and I can help. Call for a free consultation: 602-492-8295.

Expungement in Arizona aka a Set Aside

In Arizona we do not have expungement of your criminal record. Instead we have a ‘set aside‘ which allows you to convert a charge to DISMISSED. This can help with employment situations where a background check is performed.
Burges made a video explaining this: