What Are the Common Crime Defenses in Arizona?

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A law book with a gavel - Common law

Every American has a constitutional right to be present in court for criminal charges. So, if you have to face a judge, you should get an attorney to guide and help you. In addition, you must educate and familiarize yourself with regard to the common defenses to crimes in the state.

Common Crime Defenses in Arizona

The Elements of a Criminal Defense


It is submitted to prove innocence. To strengthen your defense, you have to show that you could not have committed the crime. For example, you may have been somewhere else when the crime was committed and even have been with another person who can vouch for you. If you were alone, you can still prove your alibi by presenting receipts or attendance sheets.



Aside from your alibi, you also have to present evidence or proof that you were not the one who committed the crime. Perhaps there is CCTV footage of you in an establishment or location far from where the crime took place.


Testimonies and Witnesses

Witnesses are called to the stand to provide expert opinions or state what they saw. You can also give your own testimony or version of what happened.

Then again, you have to consider this very carefully. Keep in mind that you may be charged with another crime if you take the stand and incriminate yourself. Your character may also be used against you by the prosecution.


Now that you have learned about the key elements of a criminal defense, you have to work with your attorney to figure out what would be the most suitable action for your case.

If your attorney thinks that it is ideal for you to take the stand, he can help you prepare by having mock testimonies. This can help you practice and prepare answers to possible questions.


Defenses Against DUI

The state of Arizona has stricter laws for DUI than any other state in the United States. This is why you need to get the help of an expert if you ever find yourself arrested for this crime.

You need an attorney who can help you prove that you are not guilty of the following:

  1. Not being impaired to the slightest degree.
  2. Not being over the legal limit for alcohol.
  3. Not being in actual physical control of the vehicle

These are all defense to the criminal of DUI.


Categories of Criminal Defense

In general, criminal defense has three categories: Affirmative, Procedural, and Negative.


Negative Defense

This is when you rely on the lack or insufficiency of evidence to prove the truth of the allegation.

For example, the prosecutor has to prove that you were:

  1. driving a motor vehicle
  2. under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of driving


If the Prosecutor is not able to provide sufficient evidence to prove that you were driving a motor vehicle, then there is not enough evidence to make you guilty of DUI even if the prosecutor was able to prove that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


Affirmative Defense

It is the admission of the defendant that he committed the act that resulted in the criminal charges. Nonetheless, the defendant is still not guilty of the said charges due to a legal justification for the act. This means that there is a legal justification for the act of the defendant even though the allegation is true.

Say, you admitted to killing your boss. However, you said that you only did it to protect yourself. As the defendant, you have to prove your affirmative defense once the criminal charges were proven by the prosecutor.

Aside from self-defense, common affirmative defenses include entrapment, insanity, and intoxication.


Procedural Defense

It does not exactly address the innocence or guilt of a defendant. Instead, it focuses on the defense or prosecution process.

Examples of procedural defenses include requests to:

  1. lower prison sentences
  2. include or exclude evidence
  3. use defense expert witnesses
  4. plea bargains for a reduced sentence.

If you want to learn more about the elements and categories of criminal defense in Arizona, you can contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, an attorney with more than thirty years of legal experience.

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