Practicing Criminal Defense Attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona

Felony/Misdemeanor Charges

Under Arizona's laws, misdemeanors are crimes punishable by up to six months in county or local jail. More serious crimes, called felonies, are punishable by state prison terms of one year or more.

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Government Regulations

To conspire to defraud the United States means primarily to cheat the Government out of property or money, but it also means to interfere with or obstruct one of its lawful governmental functions by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest. It is not necessary that the Government shall be subjected to property or pecuniary loss by the fraud, but only that its legitimate official action and purpose shall be defeated by misrepresentation, chicane or the overreaching of those charged with carrying out the governmental intention.

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Healthcare Fraud/Regulation

Health care fraud includes health insurance fraud, drug fraud, and medical fraud. Health insurance fraud occurs when a company or an individual defrauds an insurer or government health care program, such as Medicare (United States) or equivalent State programs.

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Vehicular Crimes

A motorist who drives with negligence or recklessness and kills another person may face homicide, manslaughter, or murder charges. Said charges depend on the nature of the injuries, which include: death, great bodily harm, substantial bodily harm, and bodily harm.

Unlike many other states, Arizona doesn’t have a “vehicular homicide” statute that applies exclusively to driving-related unlawful killings. However, an Arizona motorist who causes the death of another person while behind the wheel can be prosecuted under the state’s more general homicide laws. Depending on the circumstances, a fatal accident could result in negligent homicide, manslaughter, or murder charges against the at-fault driver.

All homicides involve the unlawful killing of another person. The difference between the three types comes down to the mental state of the defendant. Here’s how negligent homicide, manslaughter, and second-degree murder are defined in Arizona.

Negligent homicide. A motorist can be convicted of negligent homicide for causing the death of another person while driving in a criminally negligent manner. A person acts with criminal negligence by unknowingly doing or failing to do something that creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk to others. The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would use in like circumstances.

Manslaughter. A motorist who kills another person while driving “recklessly” can be charged with manslaughter. A person acts with recklessness by knowingly doing or failing to do something that creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk to others. The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would use in like circumstances.

So the difference between negligence and recklessness—and therefore between negligent homicide and manslaughter—is whether the defendant was aware of the risk created by the conduct. Generally, a person who was aware of but disregarded the risk is guilty of manslaughter, whereas a person without such awareness is guilty of negligent homicide.

Second-degree murder. A person commits second-degree murder by recklessly engaging in conduct that creates a “grave risk of death” to another person. To be convicted of second-degree murder, the circumstances of the crime must show an “extreme indifference to human life.” The difference between manslaughter and second-degree murder is a matter of degree. And the dividing line isn’t always clear. However, in general, second-degree murder requires proof of a more culpable mental state than recklessness, the mental state for manslaughter.

Vehicular Homicide Penalties

The consequences of a driving-related homicide conviction depend on the circumstances. But generally, the possible penalties are:

  • Negligent homicide. Negligent homicide is a class 4 felony. Convicted motorists face one year to three years and nine months in prison and up to $150,000 in fines.
  • Manslaughter. Manslaughter is a class 2 felony. A conviction carries three years to 12 years in prison and six months in prison and up to $150,000 in fines.
  • Second-degree Murder. Second-degree murder is a class 1 felony. Generally, a conviction carries ten to 25 years in prison and up to $150,000 in fines. However, if the victim was under 12 years old, the defendant could face up to life in prison. And when an offense involved a 12, 13, or 14-year-old victim, the defendant is looking at 13 to 27 years in prison.

For any driving-related homicide, having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15% or more is an aggravating factor that can lead to a sentence in the upper end of the allowable range.
For help and legal representation in any of these areas contact Clark Derrick at 602.234.8719 or at

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Internal Investigations

An internal investigation is a formal inquiry conducted by a company to determine whether laws, regulations, or internal policies were violated and, if so, recommend corrective action. They are conducted either before serious wrongdoing, but when there is a substantial likelihood of policy or legal violations by the company or its employees; or after potential wrongdoing, when a company becomes aware of allegations, whether from an outside source (e.g., law enforcement) or from inside the company (e.g., whistleblower claims).

The goal of any internal investigation is to obtain a straightforward view of the facts; that is, what happened, when it happened, who was responsible, who may have been harmed, and what further actions may be necessary to prevent the alleged wrongdoing from reoccurring. It is a fact-finding process that is undertaken to “get to the bottom” of potential wrongdoing by the company itself or by an officer, director or employee.

Internal investigations involve the drafting and implementation of investigation policies and protocols and the management of resource issues-regulatory expectations by the government as well as compliance resources.  They will also deal with the creation of an ombuds program and respond to whistleblower complaints.  As a government white collar/FCPA attorney, much of the work involves ensuring that the corporate policies and protocols in place are aligned with the regulations and policies outlined by the government and its respective regulatory agencies.

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