Certified Criminal Law Specialist in Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ

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You have all watched television and heard your rights….  “The right to remain silent and anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law”.  If you just follow one suggestion, you can help yourself more than any skilled attorney, that is, shut up!  The best evidence the police gather are your statements.  Many times the police do not have a case against you until you open your mouth.  So I have the following recommendations.

First, never talk to the police, especially if you are innocent of a crime.  If you are guilty, talking to the police will get you in more trouble.  If you are innocent, talking to the police could get you arrested anyway.  It does happen.  I have had clients get arrested for trying to cover for someone else, for lying to a police officer and for simply sounding scared and guilty.  Later, after spending some jail time, you are released but, you could have avoided arrest by simply saying nothing.

Second, you have a right, yes, a Constitutional right to remain silent.  Use your right.  The police cannot use your silence against you.  I have clients who are afraid that by saying nothing they look guilty.  They will say, “I have nothing to hide”.  Fine.  But still remain silent.  Even at trial, the State cannot use your silence against you.  The State prosecutor cannot tell the jury that you invoked your rights and that you refused to answer any questions.

I was a former prosecutor.  At times, I was called upon to review the conduct of police officers who were accused of committing a crime.  Often, the accusation was made by a drunk citizen who was upset with the police officer who arrested the citizen for good cause.  Guess what?  I cannot recall ever reviewing a case where the office did NOT invoke his rights.  Meaning, in every case, the officer refused to answer questions without his lawyer being present, even in cases where it was clear the citizen was not telling the truth.  Now why do you suppose the officer elected to have an attorney?  The answer is that the officer had seen firsthand how stupid it is to speak without first consulting a lawyer.  So ask for your lawyer.  Keep asking for your lawyer at every opportunity.

You may have a conscience.  You may have been brought up to do the right thing and admit when you are wrong.  The police are experts in interrogation.  The police will use your conscience against you.  You will be led to believe that “honesty is the best policy”.  Get if off your conscience the police will suggest to you.  You may be led to believe things will go better for you later if you admit your wrongdoing.  This is almost always false.  All you have accomplished is making a stronger case for the State prosecutor.  All you have done is put your entire life in the hands of a young prosecutor who does not see your confession as an act of a good person.  You have just made the biggest mistake of your life.

I have represented career criminals.  Yes, people who do not have 9 to 5 jobs.  What do you think they do?  They invoke all their rights and remain silent. They ask for a lawyer.  I have represented good, honest folks who may have slipped up and made a mistake.  The good and honest person then talks to the police and does the right thing.  Guess who gets a worse outcome?  If you guessed the good and honest person, you are correct.  You see, by cooperating with the police, the good and honest person made things worse for himself.  He just made it very difficult for his lawyer to help him.  The career criminal, on the other hand, kept his mouth shut and helped his lawyer defend him later.

If you want to cooperate, if you want to speak to the police, at least wait until you have a lawyer.  Your lawyer can protect your rights and help you obtain a fair outcome.  If the police are truly seeking justice, the police will not mind if you get a lawyer first.

At the end, the police may ask you, “Do you understand your rights…?”  If you truly understand your rights, you will ask for a lawyer and keep your mouth shut.

[Robert J. Campos is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a criminal law specialist.  His analysis of the law is based on Arizona law and the United States Constitution.  This article is for general information only.]

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So you received your summons to appear for jury duty.  You want out.  You have better things to do with your time.  You cannot miss work.  You have children to take care of.  You have restless leg syndrome and cannot sit still for any period of time.  How do you get out of service?

Our Constitution guarantees us the right to trial by our fellow citizen sitting in judgment of our conduct.  Jury duty is therefore one of the most important duties we have as a citizen of this Country.  Without qualified jurors the system would come to a complete stop.

However, there are certain requirements.  You must be a citizen of the United States. You must be a resident in the jurisdiction summoned to serve.  You must not have a felony conviction and not had your civil rights restored.  You must not be adjudicated mentally incompetent or insane.  A.R.S. Section 21-201.

If you meet the requirements, you may be excused under certain situations.  If you have a mental or physical condition that makes you incapable of jury service.  But you must have a doctor’s statement and this statement must be in writing and provided to the court ahead of time.  Your service would materially affect the public interest or welfare in an adverse manner. You are not capable of understanding English.  Jury service would cause you undue or extreme physical or financial hardship.  A.R.S. Section 21-202.  What all the legal jargon means is that it is really difficult to get out of service without a really good reason.  Judges hear excuses every day and have little patience for bogus reasons why you cannot be a juror.

If you “willfully and without reasonable excuse” fail to attend service, the judge may issue what is called a “body attachment” and have you picked up by a deputy sheriff.  You may be fined up to five hundred dollars and be required to serve another day. A.R.S. Section 21-223.  I do not think you want this to happen to you.  But more importantly, you should be honored to do your duty and serve as a juror.

There may come a time when you, a friend, or a loved one are facing criminal charges and claim to be innocent.  There may come a time that you are involved in a serious traffic accident and are suing for your injuries.  There may come a time that someone posts a defamatory lie or picture on Facebook and you wish to sue for the pain this caused you.  I would guess that you would want intelligent and caring citizens to listen to your case and make a sound decision.  You want justice.  Therefore, next time you get that summons, consider yourself fortunate to be able to perform a critical function in our system of justice.

[Robert J. Campos is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a criminal law specialist.  His analysis of the law is based on Arizona law and the United States Constitution.  This article is for general information only.]

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I am always asked by clients when they are justified to use their gun—meaning deadly force.  My answer is simply: it depends.  This answer is never satisfactory for a client.  They want a hard and fast rule.  My answer is still it depends.

The law allows a person to use deadly force to defend themselves, a third party, and their home.  The law is more complex but, in a nutshell, a person is justified in threatening or using deadly physical force “when and to the degree a reasonable person would believe that deadly physical force is immediately necessary.”

What does this mean?  What is “reasonable?” What is “immediate?” What is “necessary?”  If you point a gun at someone and then claim you were defending yourself, or your friend, or home, you will have to convince a jury of your peers that you were justified.   Believe me when I tell you that a jury is going to want a credible explanation from you as to why you had to display or fire your gun.

I have clients who get charged with Aggravated Assault because they threatened someone with their gun.  The charge carries a mandatory prison sentence of five to fifteen years.  If the police believe that you did not act reasonably under the circumstances, you could wind up in jail.

If you own a gun, I strongly advise that you learn how to use the weapon from a qualified instructor.  I also recommend that you obtain your concealed weapons permit.  You will be schooled in the law.  This is responsible gun ownership.

[Robert J. Campos is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a criminal law specialist.  His analysis of the law is based on Arizona law and the United States Constitution.  This article is for general information only.]

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Do yourself a favor and do not drive if you have had too much to drink.  However, should you find yourself pulled over the side of the road with the police lights flashing behind you; I recommend that you do the following:

First, do not lie to the police.  Lying to the police is a crime and it gets you in more hot water.  It is better to say nothing than to lie.

Second, do not admit to anything.  You have a right not to incriminate yourself.  You are NOT smarter than the cop and you will not talk your way out of an arrest.

Third, never consent to the search of your car.  That little DUI investigation can soon blossom into an arrest for the transportation or possession of drugs that you forgot you had in the car with you.

Fourth, ask to call your lawyer.  Keep asking to call your lawyer. The police must allow you to make the call if it does not interfere with their investigation.

Fifth, refuse to do the field sobriety tests (FSTs), especially if you have ANY medical problem or if you have any issues with your balance.

Sixth, ask to speak to your lawyer before submitting to ANY blood, breath or urine test.  Generally, you should submit to this test or you can lose your license for one year.

Lastly, be polite.  It goes a long way with the police.

[Robert J. Campos is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a criminal law specialist.  His analysis of the law is based on Arizona law and the United States Constitution.  This article is for general information only.]

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Testimonials

"I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all that you’ve done for me. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope I never have to call you after this. But I know who to call if I do get into a bind…" — G.A.

I just wanted to take this time to thank you for all you have done for us. It will all work out for the best in the end — Sam & Raychal

"Midpoint on probation and my P.O. put me in for early release. Reflecting back over the past years I especially want to thank you for working so hard to give me my life back. So, thank you Robert -- a day does not pass without me thanking God for you --" — Jeff

"Thank you again for taking care of my case, you did a GREAT JOB!" — Sincerely, S.L.

You’ve made me look forward to the future years of my life with much more enthusiasm. Thank you so, so, much for all of your hard work. — Donald

You really made a difference—and you truly are appreciated. Thank you very much! — Steve

"I'll start this letter by first letting you know that I was very impressed by your performance in court. I want to thank you for a job well done. May you have continued success to help others in such situations as mine to not only to get them out of jail or prison but to let them go back to their families and get their lives back on track. Once again, job well done and God Bless you and your family." — Rene

"I would like to thank you for all your support and effort you made for us. I know this was not an easy case. Thank you for believing in me even when there could have been a doubt….. Thank you for everything." — Rachel

"I want to let you know how very grateful I am to you for holding me up, keeping me going and pushing for me when I couldn't. You put up with a lot from me during the past months. I couldn't and wouldn't have been able to carry through with the trial had it not been for your support and caring. You are a true friend, and I will always think of you that way." — Erma

"Just wanted to say how much Janet and I appreciated you help representing Nick recently. I selected someone I knew was an excellent attorney I could trust and believe in. Thanks for your help." — Hector & Janet

"Siempre te llevare en mi corazon. Eres muy especial para mi. Que Dios te bendiga" — Sandra

"I would like to thank you and your faculty and let you know how much I appreciate all that you have done on my behalf… I never got to properly thank you for your advice and support. You did more than I expected and I wish you were still there. I hope one day I can repay you for services rendered. I thank you for your concern and I thank you for your time." — Sincerely, A.A

"I want to take this time to thank you for representing me and for doing such an outstanding job defending me. Words can't express how relieved and gratefull I was to you and the Lord above when I heard the good news. You have restored my faith in the law and proved that there are good people who care. I promise I will be more careful in the future and when I meet anyone who needs a good attorney, I will gladly recommend you" — Alfredo

"I want to thank you for everything you did for me. You are the best lawyer that I know. Thank you for convicing the State that I was not the suspect. My birthday [was] on the [date] the case was dismissed...so thank you for giving me the best birthday gift that I ever got. — Raymond

"I am writing to thank you for everything you have done for me. I also want to thank you for believing me. Everything I told you was the truth. I think you did a wonderful job. I couldn't of had a better lawyer." — Tisha

Thank you for everything you have done for my brother Bo. I hope the next time we meet it will be in better circumstances. Take care and God bless you [and your secretary Lizet]. — Lydia

“When Jeff called me to tell me of the deal you created for Donald [the client] I burst out with cries that [Jeff] thought was laughing with joy…. Well they were but accompanied with so much emotion and deep gratitude…” — Rebecca

"We give thanks to you for the battle you fought for Woody and me. You have given us our future together back and are responsible for the good we are able to do. Thank you and God bless you for your friendship and talent." — D. and W

"I’ll start this letter by first letting you know that I was very impressed by your performances in court. I want to thank you very much for a job well done… May your continued success to help others in such situations as mine to not only get them out of jail or prison, but to let them go back to their families and their lives back on track. Once again, job well done and God bless you and your family." — Rene

"I know you now know that this is the most devastating experience I have ever found myself in. Being found "Not Guilty" on all counts in both the criminal and civil cases, was the most profound experience of my life. I will never forget that Friday evening and how it felt to have the weight of the world finally lifted from my shoulders. I consider myself very fortunate to have selected you to represent me and hope you will accept my thanks again as genuine and heartfelt" — Gerry

Contact Us

Robert J. Campos & Associates

51 East Lexington Avenue

Phoenix, Arizona 85012

Phone: (602) 222-3440

Fax: (602) 595-9683

Email: info@robertjcampos.com