›››The following content is an excerpt from a live interview with Richard Jacobs founder of my DUI Attorney dot org. The interview has been transcribed and contains information for educational purposes only. Please call Michael Munoz to get legal advice for your particular situation
Q: What are the most common crimes that you come across in the Phoenix area?
A: DUI is a very, very common crime, not just because of the social nature of alcohol. There are a lot of DUIs in Arizona, and one of the reasons why is that the blood alcohol standard keeps on getting lower. Another common criminal offense is minor consumption of alcohol, minor in possession of alcohol. Possession of marijuana is very common. Those are very, very common crimes.
Q: Now that in Arizona there are medical cards for marijuana, how has that affected or changed the marijuana laws?
A: The medical marijuana is essentially a license to be able to use marijuana if a doctor has prescribed that to you for a health reason. It’s still a crime in the federal statute to possess marijuana. But having a license in the state of Arizona is a possible defense to being charged with possession of marijuana in the state of Arizona.
Q: If you don’t have a medical license and you have marijuana on you, what is the smallest amount that it’s likely you may be charged for possession of it?
A: In Arizona, the law is the lowest amount possible to be charged with possession of any drug is what’s called a usable amount. If the amount, if considered usable by an expert or a trained officer, then likely that is going to be considered a violation of the law, and that is a valid possession charge. If the amount of so small that nobody could use it, then that is a good defense to a possession of drugs case.
Q: What are the common misconceptions that people have about the criminal process in general?
A: I think the biggest misconception about the criminal process is people think once their arrested that their first court date is automatically a trial. The criminal process in Arizona can be very lengthy. Your first court date is usually what’s called your arraignment, where the person is told what charges they are facing, and they are asked to plead guilty or not guilty. At the arraignment, a person should plead not guilty, and then usually from there a court will set either a status conference or a pre-trial conference so that they can either get a lawyer or try to talk to the prosecutors themselves.
At these conferences, lawyers have discussions with the prosecutor about discovery in police reports and try to negotiate a plea offer. From there, it can be continued to another pre-trial conference, or it can be set for a trial at a later date. The criminal justice system is not the fasted moving, and people just need to understand that their trial is not their first court date on their ticket.
Q: So on average, how long could it take a DUI arrest to fully finish out, resulting in either a plea or a guilty or a not guilty or some other resolution?
A: A DUI case is probably going to take anywhere from three to five months before a full resolution in the criminal courts.