Do “No Trespassing” Signs Apply to Police Officers?

In Arizona, posting a “No Trespassing” sign on your property could prevent police officers from entering to conduct a search or seizure. The United States Constitution grants individuals a right to expect privacy on their own properties. However, there are circumstances where law enforcement can bypass a “No Trespassing” sign and legally enter a property in Arizona.

The Fourth Amendment and Your Privacy Rights

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right of American citizens to feel secure in their “persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” This prevents the police from entering or searching a person’s property – including their vehicles and person – without probable cause and a warrant.

However, the Fourth Amendment does not prevent reasonable property searches. The distinction between what is reasonable and unreasonable has been contested for many years. To clear this matter up, federal and state courts have enacted laws to help determine when the police can and cannot enter private property.

What Is Curtilage?

Curtilage” is the legal term used to describe spaces around an individual’s home or property where he or she can continue to expect reasonable control over who enters. Curtilage generally includes the area immediately surrounding a residence, such as the front entryway, driveway, yard and garden.

Under the concept of curtilage, these spaces are typically considered to be part of the owner’s premises and are therefore afforded the same legal protections as the house itself. This includes a constitutional protection from unlawful searches and seizures. Determining what constitutes curtilage takes looking at factors such as the presence of fences or barriers and the layout of the property.

How Does a Search Warrant Effect Trespassing Laws?

If you have a “No Trespassing” sign posted in a visible place on your property, this is enough to mark the premises as private property. This means anyone not invited by you or legally authorized to enter cannot step onto your property, including police officers. However, if a police officer has a valid warrant, this grants law enforcement authorization to enter the property despite a “No Trespassing” sign.

The rules of a warrant state that it must be signed and issued by a government official. It must contain highly specific language. If it does not describe the area being searched as well as the items or evidence that police are looking for, it is not a valid warrant. Police officers do not have permission to search anywhere that is not included on the warrant.

To obtain a warrant, law enforcement must suspect you of committing a crime. They must have probable cause to make you a suspect, which they will present to a judge when seeking a search warrant. If a judge signs the warrant, the police will have the right to search your private property. This can include a home, business or vehicle, whether or not there are “No Trespassing” signs posted.

Get Help From a Criminal Defense Attorney Regarding Searches of Your Property

In general, police officers are not exempt from trespassing laws in Arizona. However, if an officer is acting in the scope of official duty and has a warrant to enter private property, he or she can do so without legal repercussions. If you have a case involving a search of your property by police that you wish to discuss with an attorney, speak with a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer from Corso Law Group for a free consultation. We can help you defend your rights. Contact us today.

What Is Vehicular Assault in Arizona?

Vehicular assault is classified as an aggravated assault charge in Arizona. This is a felony charge that can have serious consequences, including mandatory prison time. If you or a loved one is facing vehicular assault charges in Phoenix, Scottsdale, or elsewhere in Arizona, consult with an Arizona vehicular aggravated assault lawyer at Corso Law Group as soon as possible about your case.

Arizona’s Definition of Vehicular Assault

In Arizona, a vehicle is viewed as a deadly weapon. This means that an assault involving a vehicle is referred to as aggravated assault under A.R.S. § 13-1204. In Arizona, a person commits aggravated assault if he or she commits assault under A.R.S. § 13-1203 and uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.

According to A.R.S. § 13-1203, an individual commits the crime of assault by: 

  • “Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person; or
  • Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury; or
  • Knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke such person.”

If these actions are committed with the use of a deadly weapon, including a motor vehicle, the charges are escalated to aggravated assault. This is classified as a class 3 dangerous felony, punishable with 5 to 7 years in prison. If an injured victim is under the age of 15, this crime is enhanced to a class 2 dangerous felony with a sentence of 7 to 21 years in prison.

Drunk Driving Accidents Can Be Classified as Vehicular Aggravated Assault 

Convicting an individual of vehicular aggravated assault in Arizona requires proving that the defendant’s actions were intentional or reckless. Recklessness means “a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists,” according to A.R.S. § 13-105(10)(C).

Under this definition, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol constitutes recklessness by a defendant. If an intoxicated driver causes a car accident that results in bodily injury or death to another person, the driver could face vehicular aggravated assault charges for recklessly causing the injuries.

Potential Defenses to Vehicular Assault Charges in Arizona 

To convict someone of vehicular aggravated assault in Arizona, the prosecution must prove the required elements of the offense as true beyond a reasonable doubt. Many potential defenses may be available to you during a vehicular assault case depending on the circumstances, including: 

  • You did not drive recklessly.
  • The accident was caused by another factor.
  • You were not under the influence (if the charges are based on allegations of drunk driving).
  • The victim’s injuries were not serious.
  • You were acting in self-defense or defense of others.
  • Evidence collected against you is inadmissible due to constitutional rights violations.
  • The prosecution does not have enough evidence to meet the burden of proof.
  • There are valid legal reasons why the case cannot proceed.

If you have been arrested for vehicular aggravated assault in Arizona, contact Corso Law Group right away for personalized legal advice. We can develop a defense strategy against vehicular assault charges that places you in the best position possible to achieve case dismissal. 

If this is not an option, we can negotiate to reduce the charges or lessen your sentence. As your legal representatives, we will exhaust every possible defense that applies to your case. Call (480) 471-4616 today to start with a free consultation.

Arizona Supreme Court Insists on New Change in Police DUI Process

Arizona is known for some of the strictest DUI (driving under the influence) laws in the country, with a zero-tolerance policy and tough, extensive penalties including hefty fines, jail-time, tent city sentencing and lifelong repercussions impacting one’s family, career, educational opportunities and much more.

The process of being pulled for an Arizona DUI is also demanding, but the current procedures used when officers pull over a driver have recently been deemed unfair.

The Arizona Supreme Court is now forcing police officers to alter the way they obtain evidence when pulling someone over for being under the influence, changing the script they recite.

Before, police were able to say that Arizona state law requires that the driver give a blood sample, telling the driver that if they disagree, they could lose their license for up to year.  Now, the court says police officers can only remind drivers of the law after they refuse to give a blood sample.

Will this change have an impact on past and future DUI cases?

Yes, this Arizona Supreme Court decision could have a significant impact on past and future Arizona DUI cases. It’s crucial for past DUI offenders to meet with a lawyer, to discuss their situation and what occurred during their case. Current cases should also be assessed and reviewed, in accordance with the new process.

It’s important for all Arizona drivers to understand their rights and to know law enforcement across the state of Arizona can and can’t say.

Can police still demand a blood sample?

Yes. If you refuse to give a blood sample, an officer can still get a search warrant for it which in Maricopa County, only takes 10 minutes. However, it’s crucial for Arizona drivers to fully understand their rights throughout this entire process.

Review these Arizona DUI FAQs today: http://bit.ly/23mEvqY.

This decision may have an affect on your current and past Arizona DUI case. For more information, contact the Arizona DUI lawyers at Corso Law Group – Arizona at (480) 471-4616.

The Tom Brady Ruling: Equal Protection and Due Process

Last September, Judge Berman eliminated Tom Brady’s four-game “Deflategate” suspension, a punishment given to him by the National Football League (NFL) for being apart of the scandal in which footballs were deflated in last year’s Super Bowl.

Among other reasons, Judge Berman said his decision to throw out the suspension was because of “inadequate notice of punishment and misplaced reliance on NFL’s ‘conduct detrimental’ policy,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

Seven months later, Brady’s suspension has been reinstated. This past week, “a divided federal appeals court in Manhattan has upheld the National Football League’s four game suspension,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

It was a decision that reflected an investigation which revealed rule violations at a high level. The three judge panel agreed 2-1 with the original suspension placed on Tom Brady by the National Football League (NFL) and that the reinstatement of the Tom Brady’s punishment was fair and right.

For a legal debate that continues to gain press and break new grounds, this ruling revealed the Judges’ mindset of treating everyone equally and sticking to a ruling they believed was fair and just in the first place.

Judge Barrington Parker who wrote for the majority stated that while the suspension may seem “unorthodox”, it was a collective agreement and it shouldn’t serve as an exception to the rule.

This ruling surrounds equal protection and due process, important factors when it comes to high-profile cases. It also received an incredibly large and diverse reaction from Tom Brady fans, New England Patriot fans and a slew of football fans in general.

Judge Katzmann however, disagreed. In his dissent, he called the suspension “unprecedented” and went on to say that The Commissioner who implemented the punishment “failed to even consider a highly relevant alternative penalty.”

Corso Law Group deals with difficult cases everyday. As your voice in the courtroom, we are deeply dedicated to our clients and their families.

For a free consultation, please call Corso Law Group – Texas at (713) 231-0499.

Police Gain Greater Access to Phone Records with No Search Warrant Required

Should Federal agents be allowed to access a phone caller’s location without a warrant?

A Cincinnati-based federal appeals court recently said yes with their latest ruling on the topic of protecting the privacy of data which is transmitted by one’s personal device.Phone Records

The records in question, obtained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), were that of two men located near multiple robberies when they occurred.

Timothy Carpenter and Timothy Sanders were found guilty of being involved in nine armed robberies but argued that their phone records should have been dismissed as evidence.

Why did they argue this?

  • The phone records were obtained without a search warrant.
  • The Fourth Amendment should have protected the FBI’s access to their phone records.

Unfortunately, the court ruled against them.

In a 2-1 panel, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision stated that collecting this information did not require a search warrant and was not categorized as a “search”.

Judge Raymond Kethledge wrote, “Cell-site data—like mailing addresses, phone numbers, and IP addresses—are information that facilitate personal communications, rather than part of the content of those communications themselves.”

Carpenter’s lawyer continues to focuses on the next step. In these situations, it’s crucial to secure a criminal defense lawyer who is willing to fight till the end and be the client’s voice in the courtroom.

Carpenter’s lawyer will either ask the Sixth Court to rehear the case or head to the U.S. Supreme Court.

What’s the Supreme Court’s record when it comes to privacy?

Recently, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of privacy. However, Judge Kethledge wrote that his decision was based on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Smith V. Maryland. The Smith V. Maryland ruling stated that when a person dials a number on their landline, they are willingly releasing that information to phone companies and therefore, it’s not protected by the Fourth Amendment.

While landlines and cellphones are different, Judge Kethledge saw this as a solid reference for his decision.

What’s next?

This controversy will continue to be disputed as similar cases appear and questions continue to be asked.

Is this fair? Should the FBI be able to access this information? If police have access to this type of data, especially this much, shouldn’t they have to have a search warrant?

In this case, police had extensive amounts of information. They had months of data from more than 1,000 different locations. Carpenter was sentenced to more than 116 years in prison and Sanders was sentenced to approximately 14 years in prison.

To schedule a free consultation, please call Corso Law Group at (480) 471- 4616.

Former NFL Player Accused of Operating International Drug Trafficking Ring

Former NFL player and current Scottsdale resident Derek Loville has been accused of operating in an international drug trafficking ring.

According to court documents, Lovelle was in a federal grand-jury indictment that includes charges of:

  • Racketeering conspiracy
  • Drug trafficking
  • Illegal gambling
  • Money laundering

Led by Owen Hanson, a former athlete from USC, the operation went by the name of “ODOG”, which made fake companies to cover up illegal gambling and drug trafficking.

Along with other crimes, Hanson and others threatened someone to pay them a $2.5 million debt, according to the indictment.

The threat included a delivered package containing photos of the customer’s spouse and family. Allegedly, they also sent an email titled “Operation Shovel”. In the email, it contained a photo of the customer’s gravestone, implying they would die soon.

Later, “ODOG” sent a DVD showing a masked person beheading two men with a chainsaw and a knife. The DVD had a message that said “If you don’t pay us our money, this will happen to you.”

According to authorities, Loville sold illegal narcotics to someone in Phoenix for “ODOG”. Then, two days later, Loville transferred $1,150 to Hanson.

On January 13 the U.S District of Southern California issued a warrant for Lovell’s arrest. Loville then made his appearance in court on January 27 and then was released.

With more court dates to come, we will soon find out if Loville was a part of “ODOG” and whether he distributed drugs for Hanson.

Scottsdale DUI Lawyers at Corso Law Group Warn of Increased DUI Patrols During Arizona Spring Training

During the first week of spring training in 2015, the Arizona Department of Safety reported 59 DUI arrests near the games. With millions of fans expected to turn out this season, baseball fans should be aware that increased DUI patrols are expected, according to Scottsdale DUI lawyer Christopher Corso.

As fans around the state prepare for the games, it’s important to note that after a game is over, the Center for Advancing Health estimates that 40 percent of fans will still have alcohol in their body.

“During spring training, law enforcement will not hesitate to arrest or give citations to those who who appear to be acting irresponsible while under the influence,” said Corso, founder of Corso Law Group. “If you or someone you know finds themselves in a difficult legal situation, it’s important to understand your rights and to stay silent until you have a DUI defense attorney present.”

Last year, law enforcement officials told 3TV, “more people were drinking and driving home from ball games than any other time in recent memory – with many offenders being from out of state,” an important wake up call to out-of-state residents who need to understand the seriousness of driving under the influence in Arizona.

“With so many out-of-state residents traveling to Arizona to follow their favorite baseball team, it’s important for them to know they’re not exempt from our tough DUI laws,” Corso said.

In Arizona, the penalties for drinking and driving are serious and can result in a mandatory jail sentence of 24 hours to 10 days. Along with jail time, offenders may be potentially required to undergo alcohol education, equip their vehicle with a certified ignition interlock device and be ordered to perform community service.

“During this fun time, we want to remind fans to stay safe and be responsible,” Corso said, “However, if for some reason you find yourself in legal trouble, remember that Corso Law Group is here to defend your rights and help to ensure your civil liberties aren’t violated.”

Corso Law Group is an experienced team of legal professionals who have handled thousands of Arizona DUI cases. Founder Christopher Corso is a former Maricopa County prosecutor who can help with drunk driving cases as well as other criminal defense needs such as criminal speeding, CDL tickets, photo radar tickets, felony charges, drug possession, weapons possession, violent crimes and more.

Free consultations are available with Corso Law Group by visiting https://www.corsolawgroup.com or calling (480) 471-4616.

Corso Law Group, PLLC Arizona offices are located at 8655 E. Via De Ventura, Suite F-165 in Scottsdale, Arizona 85258. The firm’s Texas offices are located at 5177 Richmond Ave., Suite 1250 in Houston, Texas 77056.

College Football National Championship Game Brings Crime to Phoenix According to Criminal Defense Attorneys at Corso Law Group

Thousands of football fans will flood the Valley for the College Football National Championship in Glendale, Ariz. on Jan. 11., leading to increased crime and police presence on game day, according to criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Christopher Corso, founder of Corso Law Group.

Approximately 72,000 fans are expected to attend the championship game in Glendale, and 20,000 more will be watching from surrounding bars and restaurants in Westgate, The Arizona Republic reports.

While this spike in visitors is great for the local economy and tourism, large crowds, parties and alcohol consumption bring crime to hosting cities. In some instances where games resulted in upset, crimes such as assault increased by 112 percent, according to a study examining the connection between college football games and crime.

“Large crowds can bring about security and safety issues. With so many people concentrated in one area, large-scale events like college football games become targets for accidents and criminal activity,” Corso said.

Police in Glendale, downtown Phoenix, where additional events will take place, and across the Valley know this to be true and aren’t taking any chances.

Officials in Glendale are planning to implement extensive security for the national championship game, which will take place at University of Phoenix Stadium. In Phoenix, the director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for the city said thousands of law enforcement and fire officials will be working the event, including 300 to 400 at the command post, KTAR News reports.

“Police will be on high-alert for any violation of the law, whether it’s assault, drunk driving or theft,” Corso said. “Arizona is becoming a destination for national events, and officials are doing whatever it takes to keep it that way.”

Corso Law Group is an experienced team of legal professionals who have handled thousands of Arizona DUI cases. Founder Christopher Corso is a former Maricopa County prosecutor who can help with drunk driving cases as well as other criminal defense needs such as criminal speeding, CDL tickets, photo radar tickets, felony charges, drug possession, weapons possession, violent crimes and more.

Free consultations are available with Corso Law Group by visiting https://corsolawgroup.com or calling (480) 471-4616.

Corso Law Group, PLLC is located at 17470 N. Pacesetter Way Scottsdale, AZ 85255.

Are Online Threats Equally as Punishable as Verbal Threats?

Lately, several incidents concerning people posting online threats have been in the news. From the controversy at University of Missouri to other violent online threats directed towards a Dallas high school, cyber threats are being taken much more seriously. Legally though, are online threats equally as punishable as in-person verbal threats?

The answer is dependent upon each case but in the situation that took place at the University of Missouri, the answer was yes. Two college students were arrested for making death threats against African American students over an online social media app called Yik Yak.

The University of Missouri first issued a security alert to all students and faculty, they were able to find those that made the threats and proceeded to arrest them. In this case, the threats were directed at a specific group of individuals and categorized as terrorist threats.

These death threats and other online threats are illegal in most cases, just as they would be in person. However, this past June, the Supreme Court specified the legal repercussions concerning online threats and arresting those involved.

The Supreme Court ruled that an online threat is not criminal unless the person writing the threat planned for it to be understand as legitimate and others believed this as well.

In discussing the decision of the Supreme Court, ACLU legal director Steven R. Shapiro said the “decision properly recognizes that the law has for centuries required the government to prove criminal intent before putting someone in jail.”

The decision comes at a time when these threats will have to be more deeply assessed. Another important factor when considering the prosecution of an online threat is determining the mental health of the person posting the threat.

In the decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote: “Federal criminal liability generally does not turn solely on the results of an act without considering the defendant’s mental state.”

Overall while each case is determined separately, online threats are not taken lightly and can result in similar if not worse repercussions than in personal threats.

Why You Need a Defense Attorney Instead of a Public Defender

No matter the crime, representation is a vital aspect of a criminal proceeding. Whether the charges are mild or severe, the repercussions of committing a crime could result in a range of outcomes from community service to years in prison. With such high stakes involved, the right defense is invaluable when it comes to protecting your rights and your future.

While anyone who has committed a crime has the option to defend themselves or rely on a court-appointed, public defender to represent their case, that doesn’t mean either of those options are a good idea.

Although both private criminal defense attorneys and public defenders have undergone years of higher education and testing to understand the legal system and different defense options, the differentiating factors between the two are specialized experience and workload.

Special Skills and Experience

Hiring a criminal defense attorney means you’re in charge of selecting a professional with the right experience and a specific set of skills that are beneficial to your case instead of settling for a public defender who has been chosen for you.

A private criminal defense attorney can work from a background of prior legal experience to provide optimal, individualized defense for your case, whereas a public defender who works with the same prosecutors and judges everyday might not be as comfortable with trying different defense strategies.

Excessive Workload

Private criminal defense attorneys have a say in not only the types of cases they take on, but also the number of cases they work on, allowing them more time to dedicate to each client from start to finish.

A major problem many public defenders face are excessive workloads. Many have huge caseloads to manage that exceed national standards. For example, the standard number of felony cases per year for public defenders is limited to 150, but it is not uncommon for them to have anywhere from 500 to 800 felony cases annually, according to the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. This can make it difficult for them to prioritize your needs and provide the most effective representation.

For the most effective and highest quality representation, it’s important to do your research. Hire an attorney with experience handling the charges in your case, who will take the time to get to know you and produce a specialized defense strategy.

At Corso Law Group, you can rely on our skilled criminal defense attorneys to do everything in their power to protect your rights and fight to defend your voice in the courtroom.

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