The below descriptions represent actual cases. All names have been changed to protect confidentiality.
ARS 13-2307 Trafficking in Stolen Property
Michael was addicted to Meth. To support his habit he would traffic in stolen property. He had numerous prior felonies and was on probation when he was caught with stolen property yet again. He was looking at up to 35 years in prison. Burges took the case and got him evaluated for his addiction and encouraged him to get treatment. Michael excelled in treatment and became a mentor and inspiration to others in treatment. Burges convinced the prosecutor to cut his prison sentence down to a maximum of 9 years for all his cases combined. Then at sentencing, Burges presented the judge the findings of the evaluation and the progress Michael made with treatment and got his sentence reduced to 7 years.
ARS 13-1406 Sexual Assault & ARS 13-1904 Armed Robbery
Drew had two cases and was facing up to 35 years in prison. He was only 19 years old at the time. He was no saint, but the charges against him were exaggerated. The sexual assault happened after a night of drinking with his friend. He crashed on his friend’s couch where his friend’s female roommate also passed out from a long night of drinking. He approached the woman and started making out with her. Eventually it progressed to sex. She never said a word to him and he thought it was consensual. After he left in the morning she told her roommate he raped her. Burges took on the case and got Drew evaluated by a doctor. He pressed the prosecutor to reduce his sentence and got it all the way down to 6.5 years.
ARS 28-1382(A2) DUI above .20 (Super Extreme)
Ben had a BAC of .241 when he was stopped for almost running a red light. The police dropped him on his face during transport and tried to blame it on him being drunk. Burges took the case to a jury and they agreed that Ben was not responsible and acquitted him of the Super Extreme DUI.
ARS 28-1382(A1) DUI above .15 (Extreme)
Brittany was driving home from a Scottsdale bar when she was stopped right after she pulled out of the parking lot. She was charged with Extreme DUI because the Scottsdale crime lab claimed her BAC was above .15. Burges exposed problems with the lab testing to the jury and Brittany was acquitted of the Extreme DUI.
ARS 28-1382(A1) DUI above .15 (Extreme)
Matt was stopped in Scottsdale for DUI and charged with Extreme DUI when his BAC came back from the lab above .15. The prosecutor wouldn't give Matt any deal so we took it to the jury. Burges cross-examined the police to expose flaws in their investigation. The jury agreed Matt wasn't extreme and acquitted him of the charge.
ARS 28-1382(A1) DUI above .15 (Extreme)
No Jail Time
Floyd drove home from the bar and came upon a road that was shut down by the police. Even though the police had no reason to suspect Floyd of DUI, they smelled alcohol on his breath and arrested him. His BAC came back above .15. Burges negotiated a deal with the prosecutor that allowed Floyd to plead to a regular DUI instead. Then Burges convinced the judge to spare Floyd the mandatory 24 hours jail by giving him credit for the few hours he spent in jail the night he was arrested.
ARS 28-1381(A3) DUI drugs
Jim was waiting to turn left when he was struck by a truck. Jim was a bit dazed from the accident when the police arrived. The Scottsdale officer decided Jim was impaired but Jim didn't have any alcohol in his system. So Scottsdale charged Jim with being impaired by his prescription drugs. At trial Burges got the State's lab expert to admit that the levels of the prescription drugs in Jim's system were probably not enough to impair him. The jury acquitted Jim in a matter of minutes.
ARS 28-1381(A2) DUI above .15 (Extreme)
Justin is deaf. He was stopped for DUI but the officer didn't bother to get an interpreter before conducting his investigation. The officer even interrogated Justin without an interpreter. Burges did the research to prove Justin's rights were violated and took it to the prosecutor. At first the prosecutor fought the issue, but Burges persisted and eventually the prosecutor gave in and dismissed the case.
ARS 28-1381(A2) DUI above .08
Jerry, a businessman, was stopped by the police after his round of golf. He had a couple beers on the front 9 but felt there was no way he was above the limit and felt fine to drive. Burges showed the jury how the police were biased in their investigation and how the lab can get things wrong with the blood analysis. The jury agreed and dismissed the charge. Jerry is still working to improve his putting.
ARS 28-1381(A1) DUI Impaired to the Slightest Degree
Mark and his wife were threatened by some punks outside the bar as they were leaving. The bouncers at the bar ignored the situation. Mark was assaulted but was able to pull away. Mark and his wife got in their car and drove a couple miles away until they felt safe. When the police arrived they confirmed the assault but also arrested Mark for DUI after smelling alcohol on his breath. Burges took the case to the jury and showed them how the police conducted a whole assault investigation without suspecting Mark of being impaired. The jury agreed and acquitted Mark on the charge. Unfortunately, the Scottsdale police never charged the men that assaulted Mark.
ARS 13-3407 Transportation of Dangerous Drugs
Probation with Time Served
Tony got caught up in a drug trafficking ring. He helped a dealer by providing him transportation and picking up a package without asking questions. He knew what he was doing was probably not on the up and up but he was young (barely 18) and not thinking about the consequences at the time. He was caught with over $90k worth of drugs. Under AZ law, that's enough to get mandatory prison up to 12.5 years. Burges negotiated with the prosecutor and got Tony probation with credit for the time he already served in jail.
ARS 13-3407 Possession for Sale of Dangerous Drugs
Matt was a passenger in a car that was stopped and searched by police. The police found a backpack with ecstasy inside and packaged for individual sales. Matt exercised his right to remain silent. The driver of the vehicle, however, told police the backpack was Matt's and he was charged with possession for sale. Matt was on probation for marijuana possession the year prior. The prosecutor wanted to send Matt to prison for 5 years. Matt's father hired Burges and he got to work investigating the case. He showed the prosecutor the weaknesses in the case and the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the charge. Matt doesn't hang out with that other guy anymore.
ARS 13-2310 Fraud Scheme, ARS 13-2002
John had a criminal history but had put his past behind him and was living a law abiding life. Then he ran into some unscrupulous men who almost had John sent to prison. John was selling his old phone online and met with guys who didn't buy his phone but instead tried to sell him their phone. He didn't buy it but later that day he was confronted with those same men and a cop. They were accusing him of using counterfeit money to buy their phone. The cop didn't believe John because of his criminal history and he was charged and looking at mandatory prison if he was convicted. Burges investigated the case, found several weaknesses, and convinced the prosecutor to dismiss the case. John continued on his law abiding path.
ARS 13-2307 Trafficking in Stolen Property, ARS 13-1819 Organized Retail Theft
Probation Without Jail
Fran was hooked on heroin. She ran away from home and was living from motel to motel with her boyfriend. They would shoplift from stores like Walmart and Target and return the items for cash or sell them on the street to support their drug habit. Eventually, the law caught up to her and her boyfriend. Fran had no criminal history, but the prosecutors had evidence of several different stores that she stole from and she was looking at mandatory prison. Her mom got her into rehab and then called me. While I was representing her on one case, another case was filed by the police. I negotiated with the prosecutor and convinced him not to charge the new case and give Fran probation with no jail. Her boyfriend went to prison. Fran is fighting her addiction day by day.
ARS 13-2008 Taking the Identity of Another
Probation with the Chance to Earn a Misdemeanor
Mary is a realtor who made a dumb decision one day that almost cost her her real estate license. She had clients, a couple who moved to the Valley from out of state, whose home wasn't ready to move in yet. She needed to find them a place to stay for a short time. She also had a client who skipped out on his rent and she knew his place was vacant. So she sublet his apartment to the couple. The problem was she didn't get permission from the landlord because she was afraid he would say no. Then she got herself into real trouble by signing the landlord's initials on the sublease agreement. She thought as long as she didn't sign his name, it wasn't forgery. But it was identity theft and now she was facing a felony and the loss of her real estate license. Burges negotiated a deal where Mary could turn the conviction into a misdemeanor after probation and then helped her with her real estate license hearing. She got to keep her license and her livelihood.
ARS 13-2002 Forgery
Melissa and her boyfriend were at a rocky point in their relationship. Melissa's boyfriend usually provided financial support for her and her 2-year old daughter but he was withholding money. Melissa found her boyfriend's checkbook and in a moment of desperation forged a check to herself so she could get some cash for her and her daughter. It didn't work. The check cashing store suspected the forgery and called the police. Melissa had prior felonies and the prosecutor wanted to send her prison for over 6 years. Terrified that her daughter would become an orphan she turned to Burges for help. He investigated the case and found some evidence that helped convince the prosecutor to dismiss the case. Melissa and her boyfriend reconciled and got married.
ARS 13-1504 Criminal Trespass (Domestic Violence)
Mark was dating a woman for only a couple weeks when he stopped by her house for a surprise visit. But he was the one who got the surprise. The woman was with another man. In fact, it was the man she told him she left because she was afraid of him. Mark was upset but he didn't react and just left the house when she told him to go. Then Mark heard screaming and thought she was in danger from this other guy so he ran back into the house. But she was fine and now Mark was facing trespassing charges. Burges negotiated with the prosecutor and got the case dismissed as long as Mark promised to stay away from the woman. That was more than okay with Mark.
ARS 13-1204 Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (knife)
Probation Without Jail
Nancy and her husband got into a fight after drinking way too much and Nancy stabbed her husband with a kitchen knife. Nancy had no criminal history and was in graduate school when this happened. Nancy and her husband had never even had a physical fight before. The prosecutor wanted her to go to prison for 2.5 years. She turned to Burges and he negotiated with the prosecutor and convinced him to let Nancy have probation without any jail. Nancy and her husband got counseling and are still happily married.
ARS 13-1204 Aggravated Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (gun)
Probation Without Jail
Chris had a problem with the neighborhood kids harassing him and his wife. He overreacted one day and pointed a shotgun at a couple of the kids. The gun was not loaded but under Arizona law that doesn't matter and Chris, who had no criminal history, was now facing mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison. Burges was able to detail the harassment with the prosecutor and negotiated probation with no jail for Chris.
ARS 13-1204 Aggravated Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Gun)
Bill had an unwelcome visit to his home from a former roommate who he told not to come by that evening. The acquaintance broke into the house by going through the doggy door and was met in the hallway by Bill and his gun. The trespasser left the house and called the police, lying to them about having a key and being threatened by Bill. The Mesa police didn't bother to really investigate and charged Bill. He had no criminal history and now he was facing mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison. Burges took the case to a jury and showed them how the police botched the investigation. Bill was acquitted after the jury deliberated for a matter of minutes.
ARS 13-1204 Aggravated Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (Car)
Probation Without Jail
It was the holidays. Tensions were high at the mall parking lot. Brian was nearly hit by a driver that failed to yield at the intersection. Brian chased down the driver and in a moment of anger flipped the guy the finger. Unfortunately for Brian, the other driver was a cop. He slammed on his brakes, got out of the car and pulled his gun on Brian. Brian panicked and tried to drive away. He didn't know the guy who just pointed a gun at him was a cop. But the cop claimed Brian tried to run him over and hit his knee. There was no evidence the cop was hit by Brian's car. Burges got ahold of the cop's personnel record which showed he had past issues with car accidents that were his fault, abusing his position of authority, and lying to his supervisor. Brian had no criminal history but he was looking at a mandatory 5 years prison if he lost at trial. Instead, Burges negotiated the prosecutor down from prison to just probation without any jail. The cop no longer works for that department.
ARS 13-1203 Assault
Al had a drinking problem. In the span of a couple months he picked up assault charges from bar fights in Tempe and Scottsdale. Fortunately, he realized he had a problem and got rehab. Then Burges went to work making sure his record stayed clean. Burges was able to get his charges dismissed after negotiating with the prosecutor. Al isn't getting into bar fights anymore.
ARS 13-907 Set Aside Conviction, ARS 13-908 Restoration of Civil Rights
Rachel and her husband had a lot of felonies on their record from their youth when they were both addicted to drugs. But all these years later they run a successful small business together and have been clean and sober for over a decade. Burges filed petitions with the courts to get their convictions set aside and their rights restored. They look forward to voting in the next election.
ARS 4-244 - Minor Consumption of Alcohol
Sarah was 20 years old, only a couple months from turning 21, and visiting the Valley with her family for the Fiesta Bowl. She was drinking alcohol with her parents' permission outside the stadium. Officers didn't care about her parents' permission and arrested her for Minor in Consumption. The police had Sarah blow into a portable breath device which proved she had consumed alcohol. Burges couldn't convince the prosecutor to drop the case so he took it to trial and convinced the judge not to rely on the device and acquit Sarah, keeping her record clean.
ARS 13-1204 Aggravated Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (car)
Significantly Reduced Prison Time
Greg got in a bad accident with his family in the car. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but it turned out Greg had alcohol in his system. Greg also had old prior felonies from 20 years ago. The prosecutor wanted to throw the book at him and brought 16 charges. The prosecutor got a little too creative with his charging though and tried to charge Greg with Dangerous Crimes Against Children which would mean at least 40 years of prison for Greg. Burges researched the law and showed the prosecutor and the judge a case that ruled such charges couldn't be brought for a car accident case. The prosecutor eventually gave in and Greg was sentenced to only 6 years. It's still a long time for him to be away from his family but at least it isn't the rest of his life.
ARS 13-1381 (A3) DUI Drugs
Amy was pulled over for having a marijuana bumper sticker on her car. The officer charged her with DUI for having marijuana in her system while she was driving. Until recently, the government could convict people with DUI even if they weren’t actually high because the law just outlawed having any trace of the drug in your system. This is what happened to Amy and I’ve seen it many times. The police will charge people with DUI even when they know that person isn’t under the influence because the drug will stay in your system for weeks. Fortunately, for Amy I was aware of the recent AZ Supreme Court case that stopped this practice by the police. Now they have to prove that the marijuana in your system is active THC. I was able to get the DUI dismissed. I also told her to stop driving around with a marijuana bumper sticker on car unless she like being harassed by the police.
ARS 13-2002 Forgery
Melinda was on probation for a forgery. She had done a good job of staying clean and not getting into anymore trouble. Then something from her past made life a nightmare for her. Due to government bureaucracy, another forgery charge was not filed until three years later. The government can take up to 7 years for most cases. The problem is that now the prosecutor wanted to send her to prison on this old case because she was on probation with her other forgery. Mind you, this was not a new case. She hadn’t done anything wrong since she went on probation. This was an old case that the government just took their sweet time filing. But technically under the law the prosecutor could use the case she pled to a few years back as a prior felony for this old case they finally charged. And now they wanted her to go to prison even though she hadn’t done anything wrong since she went on probation. She was staying clean, got her GED, and was doing her best to raise her daughters. I took on the case and right away set about educating the prosecutor about her situation. See, a lot of the time the prosecutors are young and inexperienced. They are just trying to make a name for themselves, which means appearing as tough as possible. This prosecutor didn’t take the time to realize that the only reason this “new” case was around was because of government bureaucracy. It took a while to educate her on that but eventually she relented and allowed Melinda to stay on probation. It took a while and she was very stressed out but it was quite a relief to finally learn she wasn’t going to have to leave her daughters just as they were getting ready to start first grade.
ARS 28-1383 Aggravated DUI
Pled to Misdemeanor
Ben was an old client of mine who unfortunately got another DUI. This time the government was accusing him of driving on a suspended license, which made this a felony DUI. Ben was in the middle of getting his PhD and now he was facing prison. I took over the case and went through all of the government’s evidence. From my review, it was clear that Ben’s license was valid, which meant the government was wrong about this being a felony. Now as a second time DUI, Ben was still looking at 6 months of jail. But I was able to convince the prosecutor to just give him the misdemeanor with 30 days jail. He was able to do his time over the summer and get back to working on his PhD when school started back up.
ARS 13-3408 - Possession of Narcotic Drugs for Sale
George made a bad decision to try and make extra money by selling cocaine. To make matters worse, he was just finishing up his probation. He got caught and now he was looking at 3-5 years of prison. That’s when he and his dad called me. First I looked into his old case that he was on probation for. It was a deal where when he finished probation it would get turned into a misdemeanor. It was close enough that we were able to get the probation department to graduate him off probation and get it turned into a misdemeanor. It was really incredible that we were able to do that after he was already arrested for selling cocaine. But we got it through and now the prosecutor had no way to force prison. I brought it to her attention after I had confirmation that the old charge was converted to a misdemeanor. The prosecutor, who used to be a supervisor of mine, admitted defeat and gave my client probation. I was able to get him another chance and I think he’ll make the most of it.
ARS - 13-1304 Kidnapping
Probation Without Jail
Stephen was accused of being a gang member and drug dealer who was holding his roommate hostage. The police sent in the swat team and treated the situation like a terrorist attack or something. It probably didn’t help that this was on September 11th. Anyway, when Stephen and his parents came to me, he was looking at 3-5 years in prison from the prosecutor. He had no criminal history and now he was looking at spending at least the next 3 years in prison. I took on the case and got to work right away. First, I reviewed the claims of the police. They had no real evidence that Stephen was a gang member; because he wasn’t. His roommate was just paranoid because Stephen used intimidating language about wanting his money that he loaned back. In the end, the prosecutor decided not to charge drug charges because I showed him that Stephen was not dealing and was not a gang member. Then I convinced the prosecutor to give Stephen probation without any jail. Stephen is now working hard and he doesn’t talk to that old roommate anymore.