Attorney at Law



Attorney Howard Dworman is a DUI and criminal defense attorney, with a previous career in law enforcement. Howard is licensed to practice in Arizona, in the United States Federal District Court, and in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Howard is an experienced and appropriately aggressive trial attorney. Howard represents each of his clients with determination and enthusiasm. As a result, Howard has obtained not-guilty verdicts for most of his jury trials.

Dworman Law

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All criminal offenses are classified as either felonies or misdemeanors. Of the two, felony crimes are far more serious offenses and warrant much stricter legal penalties under the law. If you have been charged with a felony crime, you must seek experienced legal representation immediately.

Felony criminal charges will result in an intensive investigation and harsh legal prosecution. By contacting Phoenix felony lawyer Howie Dworman, you can drastically increase your chances at avoiding a felony conviction and penalties such as time in prison.

Felony Crime Penalties in Arizona

When a felony crime is committed, it will be categorized as one of the six felony crime classes under Arizona law.

The classifications and the potential presumptive sentences for each class are as follows:

As felony crimes are the most serious of all criminal offenses, you will face a number of life-changing penalties if you are convicted. At the very least, you will be sentenced to no less than one year in state prison. Additional penalties can include large fines, countless hours of community service, and a mark on your permanent record.

Furthermore, a felony conviction can bring a devastating blow to your reputation and your relationships with your family, friends, and community, and could also severely jeopardize your ability to hold a good job, find decent housing, or qualify for certain loans.

Why You Need a Arizona Criminal Lawyer

When you contact Dworman Law about your case, you will immediately understand how a Criminal lawyer will benefit you and your case. The firm’s founding attorney, Howard Dworman, offers exceptional defense representation to clients throughout Arizona and has over 10 years of experience in the criminal justice system.

Howard Dworman and the legal team at the firm have successfully defended countless clients charged with the following felony offenses:

  • Murder/Manslaughter
  • DUI
  • Kidnapping
  • Weapons Crimes
  • Hate Crimes
  • Arson
  • Armed Robbery
  • Grand Theft
  • Fraud
  • Rape
  • Assault & Battery
  • Child Pornography
  • And More

Felony criminal charges are no laughing matter, so do not put your rights and your future in the hands of a novice lawyer. Dworman Law has a deep understanding of Arizona’s criminal laws and regulations and has successfully handled thousands of felony crime cases.

Dworman Law

Your Arizona Advocate in all Criminal and Drunk Driving Cases

Good people make mistakes. At Dworman Law, we work hard to ensure that one bad night does not destroy your future.

Arizona prosecutors are highly motivated to secure convictions in all criminal and DUI cases, and the state legislature continues to pass laws that impose increasingly severe punishments. Our criminal defense lawyers fight aggressively to prevent adverse outcomes that could impact your right to drive, your ability to work and provide for your family, and other important considerations.

What Our Clients Are Saying:

Howard F. DwormanReviewsout of 44 reviews
July 18, 2023
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Howie is the man!
Howard is the only guy you need in your life! Thank you for everything you do!!
June 22, 2022
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Rosenstein law group
If your looking for an attorney who will be honest, and straight up with you and know he has your best interest at heart Howard Dworman is for you. We had a family member wrongfully arrested for DUI last year and Howard did exactly what we asked for during out first consultation about case. Howard was able to get DUI charges dropped and make sure justice was served. Always professional and kept us updated and answered our concerns at a moments notice. A real pleasure to find someone who truly cares.
June 13, 2022
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Client Review ...
Howard F. Dworman has provided me with good service and great results. The results and level of service both have exceeded my expectations. Highly recommended. I highly recommend scheduling a meeting to discuss your case prior to going with another firm.
Bev Sutton
May 30, 2022
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Highly recommend
After dealing with a firm that seemed to want more money every other day, we went with Howard Dworman at Rosenstein Law. Howard fought hard to make sure my grandson was treated fairly and had the best possible outcome for his case. He was always available directly, no matter the day or time and had a reasonable payment.
April 21, 2022
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Fantastic Lawyer
Howard is a remarkable lawyer that shows his professionalism both in and out of the court room. He was able to manage me a really good outcome for my case. I will recommend him to anyone that has to go through this unfortunate situation.
March 9, 2022
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Howard is a Super Hero Lawyer
I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude and appreciation for Howard. I had a criminal situation that last over 7 years. For 6 of those years I had two different attorney’s who were leading me right into a plea for a crime I didn’t commit. When I finally hired Howard - his services, guidance, and mentorship completely transformed my situation!Here are just a handful of reasons why Howard is a super hero in my eyes! 1: He actually listened to me, believed me, and most importantly cared for me.
December 6, 2021
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I can’t even begin to explain how much Howard helped me, This is my first time being involved in a DUI Crash case…. Arizona has very strict laws when it comes to DUI, Being that you have to spend a minimum of 1 day in jail. There were some other complications in my case where the worst case scenario was being charged with a felony and going to jail for 4 months. Howard gave me the confidence that he was going to make sure and help me get the lowest possible penalty, and that he did!
November 30, 2021
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Criminal Defense
Quick response and extremely insightful. Went above and beyond by making sure that I was completely informed. I would highly recommend reaching out to Howard Dworman if you are in need of legal assistance. He is a professional who will take the time to coach you along through every step of the process. If you want the best, call Howard!
November 16, 2021
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My Hero Attorney
Howard took my case with very little time to prepare against a very biased judge. He was given less then 60 days to prepare for my case with only half the information needed. He worked day and night preparing for trial. He kept me updated daily with what was going on and any thing he needed. Not only is he my hero for taking that challenge but also for winning me my freedom...
November 11, 2021
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The Dream team!
Let's be honest, we've all heard the jokes about lawyers that may have left questions in the back of some people's heads that could leave them wondering, can I really trust them? Choosing a lawyer is a HUGE decision that could certainly effect ones future. I myself had to make to make a decision on who's hands to place my 17 year old sons future in. But honestly, there was never a question!!!


6910 E 5th Ave, Scottsdale, Az 85251


How Can We Help?

Phoenix Drug Possession Defense Lawyer


Arizona aggressively penalizes those in possession of illicit drugs or other controlled substances. In some circumstances, charges may be filed even if the individual did not physically have the drug on their person – officers only need to believe that the person simply knew or should have known about the drugs. 

Punishments for drug possession usually include jail time and fines, and long-term consequences include a permanent criminal record and social stigma.

If you have been charged with drug possession, you could be facing harsh penalties even if you think the offense is minor. 

Ensure that your rights and freedoms are protected by contacting a drug defense attorney who is proven effective. In Phoenix and surrounding areas, our defense lawyer at, Mr. Howard Dworman, has a successful track record in obtaining case dismissals, lowered charges, and Not Guilty verdicts. 

Call at (602) 698-5520 to protect your rights.

What Is Considered Drug Possession In Arizona?

In Arizona, the “possession” of a controlled substance doesn’t just mean you were physically holding the drug. The state recognizes three types of possession:

  • Actual possession is when you were found to be physically carrying the drug, such as in your pocket, bag, or body cavity. Note that even if officers found you with actual possession, you are still entitled to due process – the law still sees you as innocent until proven guilty.
  • Constructive possession is when drugs are found in a place that you have control over, such as your room, house, or car. Even if you say you had no idea about the drugs, law enforcers could assert that the place was under your control, hence you should have known about the substances.
  • Joint possession is when you and another person (or persons) share control of the place where the drug was found. Examples are shared apartments or shared vehicles.

Is Drug Possession A Misdemeanor Or A Felony In AZ?

In Arizona, drug possession charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies. The level of the charge depends on several factors including drug type, drug amount, and previous drug convictions.

Three Main Drug Classifications In AZ:

  • Dangerous drugs include clonazepam, ecstasy, hallucinogenic mushrooms, lorazepam, LSD, methamphetamines, steroids, etc. Possession of these drugs is prosecuted under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-407.
  • Narcotics include cocaine, heroin, morphine, opium, oxycodone, etc. These drugs fall under ARS 13-408.
  • Marijuana and cannabis laws are swiftly changing. Arizona recently decriminalized recreational marijuana possession up to an ounce for adults who are at least 21 years old. However, violating these restrictions may still result in criminal charges under ARS 13-405.

Possession of a dangerous drug, for instance, is commonly charged as a class 1 misdemeanor, with penalties including up to six months in jail and $2,500 in fines. Even if the substance isn’t considered a “hard” drug, the level of charges could still escalate if a large quantity is involved. For example, possession of two to four pounds of marijuana could be a class 5 felony, punishable with a prison sentence of 1.5 years.

Fighting Your Drug Possession Charges In Arizona

With Arizona’s strict drug possession laws, individuals have had to face daunting drug charges in various situations, including being mistaken, wrongfully accused, or entrapped. 

No matter what your circumstances are, a drug possession defense lawyer who has a proven track record of winning cases can help. 

Arizona defense attorney Howard Dworman has successfully defended clients faced with drug charges.

Here are some of the things we can do for you:

  • Build the best defense strategies against your drug possession charge. There is a wide range of legal defenses available to lawyers, but we get creative when building a strategy specifically for your case.
  • Determine whether due process was followed. Any violation of proper procedure during investigation or arrest could get your charges thrown out.
  • Negotiate for much lighter charges or penalties. We are closely familiar and updated with Arizona’s ever-changing drug laws. Existing laws and newer ones could reduce the criminality of your alleged offense.
  • Help you avoid costly mistakes. Even a small action or statement can cause a client to sign away their rights. Let a lawyer consult you towards best practices in your case. 
  • Communicate with you every step of the way, and provide clear answers to your questions.

Hire a Phoenix Drug Possession Defense Lawyer Today

Our defense lawyers can help to protect you from tenacious prosecutors and unfair drug possession charges.

Contact us at Dworman Law. Call us at (602) 698-5520 today to get started. We serve clients in Phoenix and all throughout Arizona.


KNOW YOUR RIGHTS when contacted by law enforcement

If you are stopped or arrested for any crime, including DUI/DWI, the best way to avoid a conviction is to know and to assert your rights. Police, prosecutors, and other Government officers will take advantage to secure your conviction when you do not assert your rights. Don’t let this happen! 

Know your rights and contact us to protect them.

Protect Your Rights — Attorney Howard Dworman has defended hundreds of clients in Scottsdale, the Phoenix metro area, and throughout Arizona. Call us 24/7 at 480-256-2449 for a free initial consultation.


After conducting a traffic stop, one or more police officers will all but certainly request or instruct you to perform a number of tasks. They will tell you these tasks are designed to demonstrate your sobriety; “to make sure you are safe to drive.”  BUT that is not the case.  In fact, these tasks are called “Field Sobriety Tests” (FST).  Key word is “test.”  And these tests are designed for you to fail; to give the State more evidence against you.  The FSTs vary, but often include “HGN” – following a moving object with your eyes, the “Walk and Turn” – walking along a straight line, and/or the “One Leg Stand” – balancing on one foot.

The police officers and prosecutors rely on the hope that you are ignorant to the law and use that ignorance in obtaining your consent participate. Unequivocally, you do not have to perform these tests, but they don’t have to let you know that. When you agree to participate in the FSTs, you are simply just giving the officers probable cause to arrest you for DUI/DWI.


Whether a mere petty offense, a misdemeanor, a DUI/DWI, or a felony, all are serious criminal charges with serious, and potentially life-changing and permanent, criminal consequences. You always have the right to an attorney; do not be mislead to believe that you cannot ask for a lawyer until the police give you the option.  You always have that right. You must be clear about asking for a lawyer.  When you clearly exercise your right and request an attorney, the police must stop questioning/interviewing/interrogating you, until your lawyer is present. Save our number in your phone and call us. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

REMAIN SILENT! it’s your right and cannot be used against you.


During any stage of a criminal investigation, the best thing you can do is to clearly as for an attorney. The next best thing you can do keep your mouth closed/shut up/say nothing/be quiet. Try as you may, and for a simple traffic ticket go ahead and try if you really want to, but you will likely never explain your way out of a criminal investigation/situation. You won’t be able to convince law enforcement to let you go. Instead, you are going to strengthen the state’s case and make life easier for the prosecutor.  Why would you help the state take away your freedom?  You don’t take your car to a mechanic and help the mechanic do his job, do you?  Or go to a restaurant, order your food, and then go into the kitchen and help the chef cook, do you?  There is no difference here. 


At Dworman Law, we provide hands-on and detailed individualized representation. We are appropriately aggressive in assert your rights and strategically protect your best interests. Contact us today at 480-256-2449 to discuss your case.

Phoenix Gun Crimes / Firearms Lawyer

Though Arizona’s gun laws are less restrictive than other states, most firearm offenses are felonies in Arizona, with severe potential penalties that include prison terms, probation, and fines. 

Even non-violent activities like unlawful gun possession can lead to serious consequences. 

If you have been charged with a gun crime, you need to have legal protection from an experienced and effective defense attorney. 

In the Phoenix area, we’re trusted by Arizonans for our hard-hitting legal representation. Our defense lawyer Howard Dworman has obtained numerous case dismissals, lowered charges, and acquittals. With his successful track record in handling gun crime cases, he has become an esteemed resource person at events such as the Crossroads of the West Gun Show.

Call Dworman Law today at (602) 698-5520 to protect your rights.

What Are Gun Crimes In Arizona?

There is a wide variety of weapons-related offenses under different Arizona laws. Here are some of the most common:

Disorderly Conduct With A Weapon

A person commits this offense if they knowingly and recklessly displays, handles, or discharges a firearm with intent to disturb the peace of a person, family, or neighborhood. This is a violation of ARS Section 13-2904.

Misconduct Involving Weapons

Under Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-3102, a person commits misconduct involving weapons if they knowingly:

  • Carries a concealed weapon without a permit
  • Carries a concealed weapon and failing to disclose it when asked by an officer
  • Possesses a firearm whose serial number is defaced or removed
  • Possesses a firearm while being a convicted felon or illegal alien (both are “prohibited possessors”)
  • Possesses a sawed-off shotgun whose barrel is shorter than 18 inches
  • Possesses a modified machine gun, or a gun that fires more than one round per trigger pull
  • Carries a firearm while committing a violent crime or drug crime.

Aggravated Assault

When a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument is involved while committing assault, the offense elevates to aggravated assault. Note that while guns are common in these offenses, the weapon does not have to be a firearm. Some cases of aggravated assault have involved knives and brass knuckles.

Unlawful Discharge Of Firearms

Arizona has certain definitions as to where a citizen can legally fire a gun, such as at shooting ranges and target shooting sites. In most other areas in a city or town, it is illegal to discharge a firearm. ARS Section 13-3107 states that “A person who with criminal negligence discharges a firearm within or into the limits of any municipality is guilty of a class 6 felony.” 

Drive-By Shooting

ARS Section 13-1209 specifically defines drive-by shooting as “intentionally discharging a weapon from a motor vehicle at a person, another occupied motor vehicle or an occupied structure.”

Penalties For Weapons Crimes In Arizona

The majority of weapons offenses in AZ are charged as felonies. They can range from Class 6 to Class 2 Felony, depending on the degree of the crime. 

These are some examples of offenses and potential punishments:

  • Class 6 weapon felonies include some cases of misconduct involving weapons, such as defacing a firearm or selling a firearm to a prohibited possessor. These are punishable with a maximum of 2 years in prison, a maximum of 3 years of supervised probation, and a maximum of $150,000.00 in fines plus surcharges.
  • Class 4 weapon felonies are more serious charges of misconduct involving weapons, such as possessing a firearm while being a prohibited possessor, and carrying a weapon while committing a violent crime. Punishments include a maximum of 3.75 years in prison, a maximum of 4 years of supervised probation, and a maximum of $150,000.00 in fines plus surcharges.
  • Class 3 weapon felony – Aggravated assault and gang-related weapons offenses often fall into this classification. Penalties include up to 8.75 years in prison, up to 5 years of supervised probation, and up to $150,000.00 in fines plus surcharges.
  • Class 2 weapon felony – Drive-by shootings belong to this category, punishable with a mandatory prison sentence of up to 21 years, as well as revocation of the defendant’s driver’s license.

Defending You Against Guns Crimes or Weapons Charges

While Arizona respects gun rights, state prosecutors are serious in pursuing cases of gun crimes and unlawful weapons. 

No matter what your circumstances, you could be facing harsh penalties with a far-reaching impact on your career, your social relationships, and your rights. Let a competent defense lawyer help you protect your freedom.

Here at Dworman Law, our defense attorney Howard Dworman has effectively handled Arizona gun crime cases, obtaining favorable outcomes for clients. 

Our legal services include:

  • Building the best defense strategies against your gun crime charge – We don’t just select from a list of legal defenses. We creatively strategize based on the specific circumstances of your case.
  • Determining whether due process was followed – It doesn’t matter whether you were found with a weapon in your hand – you are still innocent until proven guilty. We closely examine the arrest and investigation to see if any violation of due process could be used as grounds to dismiss your case.
  • Negotiating for much lighter charges or penalties – It is possible for some weapons-related charges to be lowered to misdemeanors.
  • Guiding you to avoid costly mistakes like being uncooperative with law enforcement, making statements, admitting to things, and signing away your rights
  • Communicating with you every step of the way and giving clear answers to your questions. You shouldn’t be kept waiting to hear back from your attorney.


Contact a Phoenix Weapons Crimes Defense Lawyer

The sooner you contact an attorney, the better you can protect your rights. Talk to us at Dworman Law by calling (602) 698-5520. We serve clients in Phoenix and all throughout Arizona.


Phoenix Homicide Defense Lawyer

A homicide happens when one person deprives another of their life. The right to life is considered as one of the most basic human rights, which is why the Arizona legal system reserves the most severe penalties and punishments for those who commit this crime.

A lot of people tend to use the terms murder and homicide interchangeably. However, they’re not the same crimes. While all murders are homicides, not all homicides are murders. Murder involves intentionally killing someone without any justification. 

If you’re facing homicide charges, your freedom and life are at stake. It’s critical to find strong representation with the skills and knowledge to pursue every legal option. 

Howard Dworman has helped countless clients fight for their rights. He understand the urgency of your case, and is prepared to use his experience and skills to help you obtain the best possible result. 

Call us now at (602) 698-5520 to protect your rights.


Types of Homicide Charges

The type of homicide charge an accused may face will depend on certain factors such as the identity of the victim, the circumstances surrounding the incident, etc. In Phoenix, Arizona, homicide charges are classified into four categories. Each is a serious crime that carries heavy mandatory sentencing.

  1. First-Degree Murder

Under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1105, this is a potential capital offense and a class 1 felony. It occurs when a person takes the life of another in a deliberate, premeditated, and intentional act. A person who is convicted of first-degree murder may spend the rest of their life in prison.

  1. Second-Degree Murder

This is a class 1 felony under ARS 13-1104. This type of crime happens when a person knowingly or intentionally causes the death of another, but the act wasn’t premeditated. Here are some possible scenarios for those who are facing second degree murder charges:

  • The state may charge a person with this crime if another person’s death was due to the former’s extreme recklessness. The accused may even face a murder conviction if they killed someone in a DUI accident, and it was later established that their blood alcohol levels were extremely high.
  • The minimum sentence is 10 years in prison. For first-time offenders, the maximum they can get is 22 years. 
  • For those with a prior conviction of a serious felony, including second-degree murder, the minimum sentence is 15 years and the maximum is 25 years.
  • If the victim was an unborn child (excluding elective abortions) or under the age of 15, the court may sentence the accused to life in prison, with a chance of getting parole after 25 years. This is also the case if the accused has two or more previous convictions for serious felonies. 
  1. Manslaughter

This charge is given when the accused has recklessly caused the death of another. Pursuant to ARS 13-1103, this is a class 2 felony that happens when one did not specifically intend to cause a person’s death. A manslaughter conviction can get one to spend 5 to 10 years in prison, or as long as 12.5 years with enhancements.

Here are some scenarios that could give rise to a manslaughter charge:

  • The killing occurred as a crime of passion, or a crime that happened in the heat of the moment
  • The accused assisted another person to commit suicide
  • The accused recklessly or knowingly caused an unborn child’s death by injuring the mother
  1. Negligent Homicide

Under ARS 13-1102, a person can get charged with negligent homicide when they cause the death of another person, even if that was not their intention. The prosecution will only need to establish that the accused’s recklessness or extreme negligence led to the victim’s death. The maximum sentence for this class 4 felony is 3 years.

Some examples of situations that can lead to a negligent homicide charge are the following:

  • Vehicular homicide
  • Accidents caused by the accused when they were impaired by drugs or alcohol


Possible Defenses to Homicide Charges

A Phoenix homicide defense attorney can help work out the best strategy given the specific circumstances of the case. Below are some examples of these defenses:

  • The accused’s constitutional rights were violated by the police during their interrogation or investigation process.
  • The evidence was illegally obtained and must, therefore, be suppressed.
  • There was a mishandling of the physical evidence being offered.
  • The accused has an airtight alibi.
  • The eyewitness testimony lacks credibility or is unreliable.
  • The killing was done in self-defense or in the defense of another.
  • The evidence is insufficient to warrant a conviction.


Hire a Phoenix Homicide Defense Lawyer to Fight for Your Rights

If you’re accused of any of the 4 types of homicides, the battle is going to be long and arduous. You’re going to need someone by your side who will work hard to defend you.

Howard Dworman has the skills and experience to help you achieve the best possible outcomes in your case. He works with reputable accident reconstruction and forensic experts to help you present a strong defense in court. 

Call us now at (602) 698-5520 to schedule a consultation. Our team will keep your case evaluation completely confidential.


Phoenix Assault Defense Lawyer

Arizona assault laws include physical violence and a range of other offenses. This broad coverage is coupled with aggressive prosecution and harsh penalties for those convicted of the crime.

If you have been accused of or charged with assault in Arizona, protect your rights by having an experienced defense attorney on your side. In Phoenix and surrounding cities, Arizonans trust criminal defense lawyer Howard Dworman has dismissed numerous criminal cases and obtained Not Guilty verdicts for clients. 

See how we can fight the assault charges against you. Call Dworman Law, today at (602) 698-5520.


What Qualifies As Assault In Arizona?

We commonly think of physical injury when talking about assault, but under this legal definition, injury is not actually necessary in order for someone to be charged with assault. 

Under the Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13, Chapter 12, “assault” is any of the following:

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

Note that the definition includes “placing another person in reasonable apprehension of injury,” as well as “touching another person with the intent to provoke.” This means that mere threats of violence could lead to an assault charge. 

With this broad definition, assault in Arizona can range from simple assault (misdemeanor) to aggravated assault (felony). The punishments vary accordingly, but they typically include jail time, fines, probation, and counseling.


Arizona Penalties For Simple Assault

Simple assault refers to inflicting or threatening violence on a person, without aggravating factors like weapons or serious injuries. Common examples are fistfights, offensive touching or shoving, threatening language, and verbal altercations. 

Simple assault is often a misdemeanor, with penalties varying according to the level of severity:

Class 3 Misdemeanor Assault

Touching with the intent to injure or provoke is categorized as a Class 3 Misdemeanor, the lowest level of misdemeanor in Arizona. It is punishable with up to 30 days in jail, $500 in fines, and/or 12 months of probation.

Class 2 Misdemeanor Assault

In this higher category, the victim still does not have to be injured but must have felt “reasonable apprehension of imminent injury.” Conviction of this type of assault can lead to a maximum of four months in jail, $750 in fines, and/or 24 months of probation.

Class 1 Misdemeanor Assault

This simple assault involves a discernible injury on the victim. Being convicted of this crime may result in up to six months in jail, $2,500 in fines, and 36 months of probation.

Remember that even a low-level misdemeanor conviction can still have a far-reaching impact on one’s life. The conviction will go into permanent record, damaging one’s prospects in employment, purchasing a house, social relationships, and more. An assault conviction also affects one’s standing in a Family Law case such as divorce or child custody.


Arizona Penalties For Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault, also known as battery, is an act of violence against a person, with an aggravating circumstance involved. Some of these aggravating circumstances are:

  • The victim suffered serious, life-altering injuries from the violence.
  • The assailant used a dangerous weapon or instrument.
  • The assailant entered the victim’s home to commit the assault.
  • The victim was under 15 years of age.
  • The assailant knew that the victim was a teacher, doctor, teacher, judicial officer, law enforcer, or firefighter.

Aggravated assault is a felony in Arizona, with the class depending on the circumstances around the offense. It is often charged as a Class 3 Felony, punishable with a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 15 years in prison. Charges are sometimes elevated to a Class 2 Felony, especially if the victim was under 15 years old or an officer of the law. Class 2 Felony Assault may be sentenced with a minimum of 7 and a maximum of 21 years in prison.

On top of that, a felony conviction in Arizona can also result in up to $150,000 in fines, plus restitution (payment to the victim), mandatory probation, community service, and lost civil rights such as the right to vote and to bear arms.


An Arizona Defense Lawyer Can Help With Your Assault Case 

In an assault case, the state prosecutor has the burden to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. Arizona prosecutors are aggressive, that’s why it is crucial for you to have legal protection immediately. 

Consult with a defense attorney as soon as you learn of any assault allegation against you – even if you believe you never harmed anyone. 

Our legal service covers every aspect of your case to help you prevent the ruinous impact of an assault conviction. 

We will: 

  • Build the best defense strategies against your assault charge – from insufficient evidence and lack of intent, to courtroom technicalities and affirmative defenses (e.g. self-defense)
  • Help you avoid costly mistakes such as contacting the victim, brandishing a weapon, making statements, admitting to things, violating existing orders, and signing away your rights.
  • Help you respond to or challenge protective orders, release orders, and injunctions, if any
  • Alleviating the impact of the arrest and the potential penalties
  • Ensuring that your rights are upheld throughout your case.


Contact Dworman Law

The earlier you consult with our assault defense attorney, the sooner we can start building your defense to protect you.

Call us at (602) 698-5520 or fill out our contact form. We serve clients in Phoenix and all throughout Arizona.

Phoenix Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer

Sexual assault is a very serious criminal offense that’s aggressively prosecuted in Phoenix. A conviction, and even an accusation, can damage reputations, ruin careers, and lead to social humiliation. These repercussions are far-reaching and can last for a lifetime, especially because those who are convicted on this charge are required to register as a sex offender on a list that’s accessible to the public.

A proper defense is crucial if you want to protect your life and your freedom. A sexual assault defense lawyer can help you understand what you’re up against, investigate the claims against you, and work hard to protect your future. When your freedom and life are hanging in the balance, your choices matter. Your lawyer’s skills and experience can make or break your case.

At Dworman Law, we know how devastating a sexual assault charge can be, so we work hard to protect our clients’ rights. Our criminal defense attorney Howard Dworman has extensive experience particularly in sexual assault defense. He has even helped clients avoid being charged through significant pre-charge work. 

Whether you are facing sexual assault charges or are being accused of the offense, contact Dworman Law today by calling (602) 698-5520 for your best chance at  your freedom to protect your rights.


Sexual Assault

Arizona Revised Statute 13-406 defines sexual assault as the “intentional or knowing engagement in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person without the consent of such person.” It is, essentially, the legal term for rape. Sexual assault is a class 2 felony in Arizona. A sexual assault charge may also be elevated depending on the circumstances, or charged in addition to another offense.

Some other offenses that are similar or closely related to sexual assault are prosecuted under specific Arizona laws, including:

  • Sexual misconduct (ARS 13-1418)
  • Sexual conduct with a minor (ARS 13-1405)
  • Violent sexual assault (ARS 13-1423)
  • Child molestation (ARS 13-1410)


In any sexual assault case, the key issue is consent. Consent is considered lacking if the victim was:

  • Under the age of consent
  • Mentally incapable of giving consent
  • Intoxicated
  • Unconscious
  • Coerced or deceived into participating


Penalties for Sexual Assault Conviction

The penalties for sexual assault depend on several factors, including the victim’s age, the defendant’s age, whether the defendant has prior convictions, whether the defendant inflicted physical harm knowingly, and the circumstances surrounding the case.

For first-time offenders, a sexual assault conviction can get them between 5.25 to 15 years in prison. The presumptive sentence is 7 years. For repeat offenders, the sentence ranges are as follows:

  • If they have one prior felony conviction, the sentence is between 7 to 21 years
  • If they have two prior felony convictions, the sentence is between 14 to 28 years


The minimum and maximum terms may increase by three years if it’s established that the accused used a date rape drug to commit the crime. If the victim is under 12 years old or if the defendant inflicted physical harm knowingly, the court may give a lifelong prison sentence. 


Aggravating Factors

A convicted offender may receive the maximum prison sentence if the following aggravating factors are proven by the prosecution:

  • The accused threatened to inflict serious physical injury
  • The victim suffered serious physical injury
  • The accused possessed, threatened to use, or did use a deadly weapon
  • A third person was present and helped the accused commit the crime.


Arizona Sex Offender Registry

Under ARS 13-3821, people who are convicted of sexual assault charges will be required to register as a sex offender to warn the public. The following information will be included in the registry:

  • The offender’s address
  • The offender’s photo
  • The offender’s fingerprints
  • The offender’s vehicle identification information
  • Details about the case and conviction

Being placed on this list can affect the person’s ability to take out loans, find housing, or even get a job. 


Possible Defense Strategies for Sexual Assault Charges

A criminal defense lawyer will look at the facts of the case and implement a custom-tailored defense strategy for their client. Here are some of the possible defense strategies that may be used:

  • The accused has an alibi
  • It’s a case of mistaken identity
  • The prosecution failed to prove the elements of the sexual assault beyond reasonable doubt
  • The accused rights were violated during the interrogation or search and seizure process
  • A lack of probable cause for the accused’s arrest
  • Bias on the part of the police or prosecution
  • The witness’s credibility or motive is questionable
  • The statute of limitations is up
  • The charges involve financial incentive, extortion, or revenge on the part of the plaintiff
  • One parent falsely accused the other to gain an advantage in their divorce and custody disputes


Contact an Experienced Phoenix Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer Today

The heartache and stigma that can accompany a serious sexual assault charge can make you fear for your future. 

If you’re faced with an assault charge, we’re here to help. Experienced criminal defense lawyer Howard Dworman will seek to understand you, and help you navigate the charges you’re facing and mount the best defense possible.

Call us today at (602) 698-5520 to protect your rights.



Self-Defense Laws in Arizona

Assaulting another person is prohibited under Arizona law. However, physical force may be justified in certain circumstances, such as self-defense and crime prevention. 

If you’ve acted in self-defense and have been charged with a crime, you should retain a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Dworman Law can help you defend your freedom against the charges that you’re facing. Our criminal defense lawyer Howard Dworman has successfully handled many self-defense cases, securing the rights and freedoms of our clients. Call us at (602) 698-5520 today to protect your rights.


The Legal Definition of Self-Defense in Arizona

Self-defense refers to the act of using physical or deadly force against another person to protect themselves from the latter’s use or attempted use of unreasonable physical force. 

Self-defense is considered as an affirmative or justification defense. This means that when the claim is proven, it extinguishes the legal consequences of an act that would have otherwise been deemed illegal. 

When the accused claims self-defense in court, they are not contesting any of the elements of the offense. Instead, they’re saying that what they did was reasonable under the circumstances. 


The Use of Assault or Physical Force in Arizona

Under ARS 13-404, the use of physical force may be used if the person believes that it is necessary to protect himself against another person who is using or attempting to use unlawful physical force.

For a self-defense claim to prosper, three elements must exist: 

  • The force used by the defendant should be reasonable.
  • The same force must also be proportional to the threat they’re facing
  • The threat should be immediate

To determine whether the amount of force used is reasonable, the court uses the ‘reasonable man test.’ Under this test, the jury determines the typical reaction of a reasonable person if they had been in the shoes of the defendant. 


The Use of Deadly Force in Arizona

ARS 13-405 states that deadly force may be used under the same circumstances, or when the person believes that retreating from the situation is impossible. 

Essentially, the state allows people to fight—and in certain circumstances, kill—to protect themselves and other people. However, there are limitations to this. Using deadly force may only be justified when they believe that it is necessary to protect themselves against someone else who is also using or attempting to use deadly force. Essentially, deadly force can only be used by someone who has a reasonable fear of immediate injury or death.

Thus, if the defendant was threatened with a gun, it would be reasonable for them to kill or seriously injure the other person in order to save their life. However, if the other person only slapped or punched the defendant, killing or seriously injuring the attacker would be unjustified.


Arizona Stand Your Ground Laws

Although not explicitly titled as such, Arizona has laws that are equivalent to the ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws in other states. Under Arizona law, “a person has no duty to retreat before threatening or using deadly physical force pursuant to this section if the person is in a place where the person may legally be and is not engaged in an unlawful act.”

This means that if a person is not engaged in a criminal act or if they’re in a place that they have the right to be in, they don’t have to retreat when another person assaults or threatens them. However, the amount of force they use to defend themselves should be reasonable and proportional.


Arizona Castle Law and Defense against Home Intruders

The state also does not have specific castle laws. However, Arizona allows the use of reasonable and immediately necessary physical—and even deadly—force to prevent serious crimes such as burglary, theft, or damage to property. Under the ‘castle doctrine,’ self-defense is justified when the legal occupants or owners of a home or vehicle need to defend themselves against intruders.

Again, only reasonable force may be justified. Thus, if the expected outcome is only the loss of personal property, a person cannot use deadly force. If the thief is armed and threatening to shoot or stab the defendant, then deadly force may be reasonable and necessary.


Defending One’s Property in Arizona

In relation to the castle doctrine, a person may also use reasonable physical force to protect their property. ARS 13-408 states that using force is justifiable if it is “to prevent what a reasonable person would believe is an attempt or commission by the other person of theft or criminal damage involving tangible movable property under his possession or control.” The physical force must be reasonable, immediately necessary, and in proportion to the harm perceived.


Defending Another Person in Arizona

Arizona also permits the use of force to protect another person (a third party) from an aggressor. Under ARS 13-406, a person is justified in using or threatening to use physical force to defend a third party, if this defending person reasonably believes that they would be justified in using the same force as self-defense if they were in the third party’s position. The same elements of self-defense apply when defending a third party.


Arizona Limitation on the Self Defense Claim

Using physical force for self-defense isn’t justified in the following scenarios:

  • When the defendant is resisting an arrest by law enforcement officers
  • When the defendant is only being verbally threatened or provoked
  • When there is provocation on the part of the defendant, unless they’ve already withdrawn and explicitly communicated their intention to withdraw, but the other person continued to attack or use force
  • When the defendant injuries or kills an innocent third party because of his reckless actions


Find an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Arizona

If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense while you were defending yourself, your property, or another person, a dedicated Arizona criminal defense attorney will fight for you.

Howard Dworman is a dedicated lawyer with extensive experience in criminal defense. He can help you build your case and defend your freedom. Call us today at (602) 698-5520 to protect your rights.



Arizona DUI Defense Lawyer

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a common offense, and many people don’t realize how serious the penalties can be. Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws and the most aggressive DUI law enforcement. 

A jail sentence for intoxicated driving in Arizona can be as long as six months, with fines as steep as several thousand dollars, plus a host of other criminal consequences with long-term impact.

If you are charged with DUI in Arizona, get the protection of a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Arizonans trust our lawyers at Dworman Law, particularly our defense attorney Howard Dworman for his successful track record in defending individuals facing DUI charges.

Mr. Dworman is specifically trained and experienced in drunk-driving defense, with over 100 hours of continuing legal education in DUI. He is also an esteemed member of legal networks including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the DUI Defense Lawyers Association, National College for DUI Defense, and the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice.

With his training, experience, and resources, Mr. Dworman has obtained case dismissals and Not Guilty verdicts in DUI cases and is your best chance for a successful defense. Call Dworman Law today at (602) 698-5520.


Defining a DUI In Arizona

Under Arizona law, a DUI can be any of the following:

  • Operating a motor vehicle while being impaired by alcohol, drug, a vapor substance, or a combination of those, as described in Arizona Revised Statutes 28-1381 (A)(1)
  • Having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher within two hours of driving, as described in ARS 28-1381(A)(2)
  • Driving with illegal drugs in the body, whether or not they cause impairment, as described in ARS 28-1381(A)(3)
  • Having a BAC of 0.15 or higher within two hours of driving, as described in ARS 28-1382(A)(1)
  • Having a BAC of 0.20 or higher within two hours of driving, as described in ARS 28-1382(A)(2)
  • For drivers of commercial motor vehicles, driving with a BAC of 0.04 or higher, as described in ARS 28-1381(A)(4).


Toughest DUI Rules And Punishments In Arizona

In a state-by-state comparison by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Arizona is the only five-star rated state in terms of anti-DUI laws and enforcement. This means that AZ checks all the criteria in creating and implementing laws against intoxicated driving. 

Drivers in Arizona are surrounded by strict anti-DUI rules, and when charged with a DUI offense, they could face harsh consequences. 

Arizona’s DUI rules include: 

  • All-offender interlock law. All DUI offenders in AZ – including first-time offenders – are required to install an ignition interlock device as part of their penalties. In several other states, first-offense DUI does not include this punishment.
  • Sobriety checkpoints. Also called DUI checkpoints, these are police stations set up specifically to check for intoxicated drivers. A few states have questioned the constitutionality of these checkpoints, but Arizona has deemed them legal.
  • Automatic license revocation. A DUI arrest in Arizona can trigger an automatic suspension of your driver’s license, even when you are not convicted. The Arizona Motor Vehicle Department also has the power to automatically revoke your driver’s license based on certain offenses. Reinstatement of license is not automatic.
  • Child endangerment as felony. If a person is driving while intoxicated with a child in the car, it can be considered aggravated DUI, which is a felony in Arizona.
  • “No-refusal” rule. While some states allow their drivers to refuse a breathalyzer or chemical test without consequence, such a refusal in Arizona can result in automatic license suspension for a year.


A conviction of DUI in Arizona can have multiple and severe penalties, even if it is a first offense. A first DUI offense in AZ is punishable with:

  • Up to six months in jail
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • Up to five years’ probation
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Shouldering of daily jail costs
  • Installation of ignition interlock device
  • Required alcohol classes
  • Restitution, if applicable
  • Victim impact panel.


Aggravated DUI In Arizona

Certain circumstances can escalate a DUI offense into an aggravated DUI, which is a felony under ARS 28-1383. Aggravating circumstances include:

  • DUI with a child in the car;
  • Two or more prior DUIs within seven years;
  • DUI on a suspended or revoked license *as a result of a previous DUI/Admin Per Se or Implied Consent;
  • DUI while ordered to use ignition interlock;
  • DUI while driving the wrong way.

Maximum penalties (assuming no other prior felonies exist) for these include 3.75 years in prison and $150,000 in fines, but even most first-time aggravated DUI is harshly punished with a mandatory four-month prison sentence.


Dworman Law Can Help You Fight Your Arizona DUI Charge  

If you are facing a DUI charge, contact a trusted DUI defense lawyer immediately. Even if you believe that you were not impaired while driving or that your BAC was within legal limits, there are still many ways that you could suffer the consequences of an arrest. 

Here at Dworman Law, our DUI defense lawyers are experienced and proven effective in protecting clients. These are some of the things we can do for you:

  • Building the best defense strategies against your DUI charge – from breathalyzer errors and legality of the arrest, to courtroom technicalities and weakness of evidence
  • Alleviating the impact of the arrest and the potential penalties
  • Ensuring that your rights are upheld throughout your case
  • Guiding you to avoid costly mistakes such as making statements, admitting to things, and signing away your rights
  • Assisting you in reinstating your driving privileges from the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD).


Contact Dworman Law

Arizona has severe punishments for intoxicated driving. You’ll need a competent attorney to protect your freedom. 

Even if you’re not sure what you need, consult with Dworman Law to know what your rights are and how to best move forward with your case.

Call Dworman Law at (602) 698-5520 today. We serve clients in Phoenix and all throughout Arizona.


What is Domestic Violence?



According to Arizona law, Domestic Violence (“DV”) itself is not a crime.  DV is a way the law enhances several crimes. Something you must understand, “Domestic” and “Violence” are separate words.

Domestic” is a defined relationship. DV enhancements are provided under A.R.S. §13-3601(A).  These are described as “relationships” between two or more people, of which at least one must be a “defendant” and the other a “victim.” The types of relationships are:

  1. Married, or have been married, or merely lived together at any time.
  2. Have a child in common.
  3. Either defendant or victim is pregnantby the other person.
  4. Related by blood or through law (i.e. marriage): Parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling. Including “step-“parents, grandparents, children, and siblings.
  5. Victim is a child who currently or formerly lived with the defendant ANDrelated to defendant’s former spouse OR to any person who has lived with the defendant.
  6. Current or Former romantic/sexual relationship (i.e. significant others).
    • Factors that maybe used to determine if the relationship qualifies:
      • Type of relationship.
      • Length
      • How frequent the victim and defendant interacted with each other.
      • How long has it been since the relationship ended (if it ended).

Violence” is behavior(s) or a criminal act(s).   The law identifies several felony and misdemeanor crimes as “violent.”   Here are some of those crimes which Arizona attaches the DV enhancement: assaultcriminal damagedisorderly conduct; and even first-degree murder.

Let’s talk about “enhancement.”   Are you wondering, “what do you mean “˜enhancement?’”   While several ways exist for an offense to be identified as DV, the enhancement(s) are most important because, here, enhancement is another word for consequences, both direct and collateral.

  1. Under R.S. §13-3601.02any(misdemeanor or felony) DV enhanced crime can be a class 5 felony “Aggravated [DV]” ( §3601.02(F)) if the defendant:
    • Commits a 3rd or subsequent DV violation within 7 years either in Arizona or anywhere else in the United States, including tribal courts.[1]3601.02(A).
      • Must serve “not less than [4] months in jail” before being placed on community supervision (parole or probation), pardoned, or received a commuted sentence. 3601.02(B).
    • Commits a 4th or subsequent DV violation within 7 years either in Arizona or anywhere else, must serve “not less than [8] months in jail.” 3601.02(C).
      • Arizona uses the offense date(s)to determine the 7-year gap. 3601.02(D).
        • Understand this enhancement is offense-date driven, not conviction date, is crucial. I cannot tell you how many clients meet with us and are shocked to learn this is the onlyreason their offense (usually a misdemeanor) is being charged as an Aggravated felony requiring mandatory jail time.
  1. Under to 3601(L) and (N):
    • If the victim was pregnant at the time of the offense, the “court shall[] consider[] the fact . . . and may increase the sentence.”
    • If the defendant committed a felony against a pregnant person and knewthe victim was pregnant, “the maximum sentence SHALL be increased by [2] years.”
  2. Collaterally, the defendant WILL LOSE THEIR GUN RIGHTS. Yes, even for the defendant’s first and only misdemeanor DV offense.   Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(9), “It shall be unlawful for any person who has been convicted in a court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violenceto . . . possess any firearm or ammunition. . . .”   More commonly known as part of “The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act” which was signed into federal law on November 30, 1993.


Offense Classifications and Punishments

American jurisprudence requires punishment for a person convicted of committing a crime.   Arizona’s laws afford a variety of punishments, many of which focus on rehabilitation.   Let’s face it, chances are – even if convicted – the defendant is likely to re-join society.   In a lot of cases, the defendant is not in-custody prior to conviction (other than their arrest date) or the defendant will be released after serving their sentence.   Noted, all punishments will require the defendant to pay the victim restitution.


  • Arizona has 3 misdemeanor classes, the highest is a class 1 and is punishable by up to: 6 months jail, 3 years on probation, and $2,500.00 in fines and fees.


  • Arizona has 6 felony classes, other than first-degree murder (class 1), the highest is a class 2 felony. Felonies have a wide range of punishments including: prison, probation, and/or fines and fees.

Misdemeanors and some felonies are eligible for “Diversion” programs.   Diversion programs are designed to focus on two things: 1) rehabilitate the defendant: provide the defendant with tools to prevent the behavior from being repeated; 2) make the victim whole: ensure the defendant financially reimburses the victim for any financial loss incurred as a result of the defendant’s behavior.   Upon successfully completing a diversion program, the defendant’s case is dismissed with prejudice (the charges can never be brought again).

  • Noted, a defendant charged with Aggravated DV because the charge is the 3rdor subsequent, is highly unlikely to receive a diversion program.

Probation will include a variety of terms and conditions.   Generally, the defendant will be required to meet with a probation officer, who is responsible for monitoring the defendant’s progress and reports directly to the sentencing court.   For felonies, most counties in Arizona have specific probation terms for DV offenses (DV terms) and include being placed that county’s Domestic Violence Court Program.   Some of the DV terms usually include: complying with the Probation department; no contact with the victim (directly or through a third-party) without written permission from the court and probation department; participate and successfully complete a counseling program; submit to psychological testing as directed; notify the probation department of any intimate/romantic relationships and inform the partner(s) why you are on probation; 4 months jail (deferred) and can be served in any increment the court sees fit to impose, if any.

A defendant placed on DV probation usually is supervised by a probation officer and will be monitored by a surveillance officer.   “Supervised” and “monitored” sound like the same thing, right?   I agree, but in this context, they are very different – almost mutually exclusive.   The defendant will most likely see their surveillance officer in the field completing home visits, verifying employment, and verifying progress in treatment.   The defendant will most likely see the probation officer during in-office visits (the surveillance officer will be there too).   Only the probation officer can give the defendant orders – additional terms and conditions or instructions to complete certain terms at certain times.   The probation officer is also the only one who can submit documents to the court.



Now, up to this point, we have discussed what the police need to develop probable cause to arrest someone (some evidence the defendant committed a crime listed in §3601(A) and a relationship listed in §B.   We also know some of the consequences the defendant faces if convicted.   There is one very important piece missing though.   We skipped the Prosecutor, the person who represents the People of Arizona and, more importantly, the victim.

The prosecutor must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; each element of each crime must meet the burden for a judge or jury to convict the defendant.   Misdemeanor DV offenses do not afford the defendant a jury trial; all felonies require a jury (unless waived – a topic for another time).

I want to use some plain language to help guide you along as you read about the majority of defenses to DV accusations.   I am going to explain away some myths (I think).   The victim does not need to testify against the defendant; unfortunately, victims change their story often and sometimes refuse to aid in prosecution or appear in court.   This is not a guaranteed or absolute defense.   Justification defenses hinge on a couple of things: immanency and reasonableness.   Said another way, the question presented to a jury will be, “Do you believe the defendant acted reasonably?   Do you believe the defendant’s acts were in response to an imminent threat?”   Okay, let’s dive into these common defenses.

Let’s discuss two of the most common defenses to DV enhanced crimes:

  1. Victim is uncooperative/does not desire prosecution.
    • While this defense appears strong, it is not a guarantee and the prosecutor may not be inclined to dismiss the case merely for this reason. Often, victims refuse to cooperate with the prosecutor.   Sometimes, the victim even recants their original statement to police (usually the day of the offense).   After all, every defendant enjoys the Right to Confront their Accuser, right?     Yes they do, BUT the prosecutor does not need the victimto testify.   Exceptions to many evidentiary rules allow the prosecutor to illicit testimony, and offer the evidence, from a competent witness.   Moreover, if the defendant causes the victim to change positions, the defendant’s Right to Confront is waived.   However, an uncooperative or recanting victim may still present serious mitigating factors which a good lawyer will present to the prosecutor.   The prosecutor may be inclined to dismiss the case, or offer a diversion program (basically the same result), or some other offer the defendant and victim can agree with.   (I will explain why I included “victim” in that sentence in a moment).
  1. Statutory defenses, a.k.a. Justifications:
    • Use of Physical Force S. §13-403(1) and (4)
      1. “A parent of guardian . . . of a minor . . . may use reasonable and appropriate force upon the minor . . . when and to the extent reasonably necessary and appropriate to maintain discipline.” 403(1).
      2. “A person acting under a reasonable belief that another person is about to commit suicide or [otherwise cause themselves serious physical harm] may use physical force upon that person to the extent reasonably necessary to [stop it].” 403(4).
    • Self Defense S. §13-404(A)
      1. “A person is justified in threatening or using physical force . . . when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe the physical force is immediately necessaryto protect him[/her]self from [the] other [person]. . . .”
        1. IMPORTANT – Mere words alone are not enough to justify self-defense.
        2. IMPORTANT – “immediately necessary” means imminent.
  • Use of Deadly Physical Force – WHEN APPROPRIATE S. §13-405(A)(1) and (2)
    1. “A person [may] threaten or us[e] deadly physical force, IF[404] applies AND . . . to the degree a reasonable person would believe deadly physical force is immediately necessary. . . .”
  • Defense of Premises S. §13-407
    1. “A person . . . in lawful control of premises is justified in threatening to use deadly physical force[,] or threatening or using physical force . . . when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe it immediately necessaryto prevent or terminate a criminal trespass[, including an attempted criminal trespass].”
  • Defense of a Third Person S. §13-406
    • “A person is justified in threatening or using deadly physical force to protect a third person IFunder the circumstances as a reasonable person believes them to be, [the third person] would be justified under §404 or 405 . . . against unlawful physical force or deadly physical force a reasonable person believe[s] the third person [is in danger].”
  • Use of Force in Crime Prevention S. §13-411
    • “A person is justified in threatening or using both physical force and deadly physical force . . . IF AND TO THE EXTENT the person believes [the] force is immediately necessaryto prevent the OTHER’S commission of Arson, Burglary, Kidnapping, Murder/Manslaughter, Sexual Conduct with a Minor, Sexual Assault, Child Molestation, Armed Robbery, or Aggravated Assault.
      • IMPORTANT – No duty to retreat.
    • Domestic Violence as a Justification S. §13-415
      • “If there have been past acts of domestic violence . . . against the defendant by the victim, the STATE OF MINDof a reasonable person under §404, 405, and 406 SHALL be determined from the perspective of a reasonable person[, similarly situated].



When police officers are called to a DV situation, the police are required to give the potential victim a written document which provides information.   The information includes: obtaining an Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment; phone numbers for local police and local emergency services; and website addresses for local DV resources.   §3601(J).

Also, Arizona codified specific Victim’s Rights in the Arizona Constitution, known as the “Victim’s Bill of Rights.”   AZ Const. Art. 2 §2.1.   While there are several Rights, I am going to highlight what are arguably the most important.

  • To be informed when the defendant is released from custody or escaped.
  • To be present at all criminal proceedings where the defendant has a right to be.
  • To be heard at any proceeding involving a release, plea agreements, and sentencing, and post-sentence hearings such as probation violation or release on parole.
  • To refuse any pre-trial defense interviews.
  • To receive prompt restitution from the defendant.
  • To a speedy resolution.

Victims are heard.   The Arizona Constitution requires all criminal courts and prosecutors afford the victim an opportunity to give input.   Victims are encouraged to maintain an active role in the case and communicate with the prosecutor, usually through a Victim’s Advocate.   As mentioned above, victims do not have the authority to dismiss the case; prosecutors charge cases and judges dismiss them.

Some victims choose to hire an attorney to fight for, and protect, their guaranteed Rights.   Victimization of any kind is an emotional experience.   Certainly, being the victim of DV is no exception to those emotions.   We represent DV victims for various reasons.   Some victims feel their voice is not being heard and want an attorney to appear on their behalf; victims want motions filed on their behalf; victims love the defendant and want the defendant to receive help instead of punishment.   Whatever the reason, the attorneys at Dworman Law enforce justice and support Victim’s Rights.


Important Facts; Common Questions; General Advice[2] – Applies to Victims and Defendants

  1. As of 2023, The S. Dept. of Justiceprovided the following facts/statistics:
    • 40% of on-duty officer assaults or deaths are related to responding to DV calls.
    • There are approximately 3,000,000 (3 million) DV incidents reportedeach year.
    • Each year, 4,000 DV victims are killed during the incident, or as a result.
    • 53% of battered women blame themselves for the defendant’s behavior.
  2. The police were called to my home for a DV matter and they are here now. What do I do?
    1. Chances are, if for no other reason, the police will detainyou for safety reasons. Usually, you will be handcuffed and separated from everyone else.
    2. Rule #1Keep your mouth shut!
      1. It is at this point you want to politely and respectfully explain to the officer(s), you want to call an attorney and will not answer any questions without your attorney present.
    3. Remain Calm
    4. Identify yourself – refusing may be a crime itself.
      1. Pursuant to R.S. §13-2412, “you mustprovide your true full name on request of [law enforcement when you are] lawfully detained . . . based on reasonable suspicion a crime is, has, or will be committed.
    5. Have nothing in your hands.
    6. If you have weapons in the home:
      1. Tell the police where the weapon is.
        1. Should be safely put away (i.e.- a drawer, closet, safe, etc.).
        2. What type of weapon is it/are they.
        3. How many weapons.
        4. How many people are in the home.
      2. Cooperate – to an extent.
        1. Nearly all (if not, all) police departments have policies requiring an arrest for allDV calls.
        2. If you are going to be arrested, be cooperative; polite; calm, BUT DO NOT MAKE ANY STATEMENTS – See Rule #1.
          1. Do not fight with the police – doing so could result in additional and potentially worse charges.
          2. Do not flee or attempt to flee – doing so could result in additional and potentially worse charges.
          3. Do not argue with the officer.
            1. You are not going to talk your way out of being arrested. I assure you, the officers decided, long before you were being told, they were going to arrest you.
            2. You are not going to convince the police they shouldn’t arrest you.
              1. Again, see Rule #1.
            3. As to speak with an attorney before answering any questions.
          4. If for any reason you forget Rule #1, the police are going to give you a little reminder:
            1. “You have the right to remain silent,” “anything you say willbe used against you.”
            2. “You have the to speak with an attorney before questioning.”

–Howard Dworman, Esq.

[1] To determine if the out-of-state conviction qualifies as DV under Arizona law, Arizona applies the out-of-state’s statute(s) to the Arizona Revised Statutes.   Said another way, even if the conviction was not considered a DV offense in another jurisdiction, Arizona may consider the offense a DV offense and apply it accordingly.

[2] Every case is unique; this advice is not directed to any specific person or set of facts.   This advice should be relied upon only for foundational purposes.   Contact an attorney, if you can/have time, before you do anything.

[3] Statistics are only taken from criminal activity actually reported.   Not all criminal activity is reported to law enforcement.


Phoenix Firearms and Weapons Crimes Lawyer

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that the government shall not infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms

Although this is a controversial and highly political topic in the country, most gun owners believe that the rights granted by this Amendment are some of the most crucial constitutional rights necessary to protect and defend themselves. 

At Dworman Law, we aim to help you understand Arizona’s gun laws to ensure that people are able to legally exercise their Second Amendment rights. 

If you’ve been charged with a firearms offense in Arizona, contact an experienced weapons crimes criminal defense lawyer immediately. Our criminal defense lawyer at Dworman Law, Mr. Howard Dworman, is an esteemed resource person in this field, particularly at events like the Crossroads of the West Gun Show. His immense experience in handling firearms cases ensures you get the best defense possible to your Arizona firearms or weapons charge.

Call us now at (602) 698-5520 to protect your rights.


Weapons and Firearms Categories Under Arizona Law

Under Arizona law, the sale, possession, and use of firearms are regulated by the government. Guns, firearms, and weapons are defined and enumerated in Title 13, Chapter 31 of the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS). 

Prohibited weapons include the following:

  • Rocket, bomb, or grenade with more than 4 ounces of a propellant charge
  • Explosive mine
  • A device made or modified to muffle firearms
  • Automatic firearms, or firearms that can release more than one shot without having to manually reload
  • Rifles that are no longer (in terms of barrel length) than 16 inches
  • Shotguns that are no longer (in terms of barrel length) than 18 inches
  • Short barrel guns or any modified firearm that isn’t longer 26 inches
  • Nunchucks
  • Improvised explosive devices or breakable containers that containable flammable liquids with a 150-degree flashpoint
  • Chemical or a combination of them

A deadly weapon is anything designed to be lethal. This category includes firearms, but may also include knives or blunt-force instruments such as knuckle dusters or baseball bats.

Firearms include the following:

  • Shotgun
  • Rifle
  • Handgun
  • Revolver
  • Pistol
  • Any other weapon meant to shoot using an explosive 

Explosive refers to any of the following:

  • Plastic explosive
  • Dynamite
  • Black powder
  • Nitroglycerine
  • Other similar explosive materials


Arizona Gun & Weapon Laws

Gun control law, on both the state and federal level, can be difficult to understand. If you are facing felony charges involving guns and/or other weapons, an experienced Arizona weapons crimes lawyer will help you understand these charges and defend your rights in court.

While Arizona has less restrictive gun laws than some other states, any violation of such laws can lead to criminal charges and harsh penalties. 

The right defense lawyer can provide capable and compassionate defense for those who are facing any of the charges below:

  1. Misconduct Involving Weapons

As described in ARS 13-3102, misconduct involving weapons is charged as a class four felony when the accused knowingly commits such — this includes the following: 

  • Prohibited possessor: In the state, anyone who’s 21 years or older can carry firearms (open or concealed) even without a license. However, certain groups of people – for instance, convicted felons – are prohibited from possessing firearms. Illegal aliens or people who entered the country through unlawful means can face jail time if they’re caught in possession of a weapon.
  • Possession during the commission of a crime: People who are committing a drug-related or violent crime like burglary or assault while carrying a deadly weapon may face the maximum prison sentence for the underlying felony.
  • Prohibited firearms: Certain types of weapons are considered illegal in the state such as sawed-off shotguns, machine guns or any automatic guns, assault weapons, armor-piercing ammo, etc.
  • Altered serial numbers: It is a serious federal offense for people to carry firearms with altered serial numbers.
  1. Unlawful Discharge of Firearms 

Under ARS 13-3107, any person who knowingly or negligently discharges a firearm may be charged with a class six felony. The penalty may include up to 3 years of prison time.

  1. Disorderly Conduct with a Weapon

This category involves recklessly or knowingly handling, displaying, or discharging a firearm to disturb the peace of a person, family, or community. As prescribed in ARS 13-2904, this is considered a class six felony, with a possible prison time of up to 3 years.

  1. Drive-by Shooting

This occurs when a person knowingly discharges a firearm, while onboard a motor vehicle, at another person or an occupied vehicle or structure. Pursuant to ARS 13-1209, this is a class two felony with a maximum prison sentence of 21 years.

Some of the factors that can mitigate or aggravate sentencing include the victim’s age, whether the accused has a prior criminal record, and whether the offense caused injuries or death.


Defenses to Weapon Charges

Arizona is a “constitutional carry” state, which means that a person does not need to obtain or qualify for a license or permit before they can open or conceal carry a firearm.

Arizona State also has “stand your ground” laws. Essentially, this means that a person has no duty to retreat if they’re being assaulted or attacked, as long as they’re not committing a crime or trespassing on private property. They also have the right to use force proportional to that used by another person to threaten them or their family. 

The “castle doctrine” is also being followed in the state, which means that a person can stand their ground and defend themselves and their family members with deadly force against someone breaking into their home or car. Arizona law has expanded this doctrine to cover any place where a person has a legal right to be. 

However, people who use weapons in self-defense or defense of others may still be accused of and charged with weapons crimes. The law is complicated, and there may be situations where a person who believes they are rightfully defending their life may need to justify their actions in court. In this case, it is important to work with a legal team with ample experience in self-defense claims.


Hire a Phoenix Firearms and Weapons Crimes Lawyer Today

A criminal defense lawyer can use their extensive knowledge of Arizona law to help those accused of offenses involving firearms and weapons. They can help you get answers to the following questions:

  • Will I go to jail? 
  • How do I deal with the charges? Is it possible to get them dropped or dismissed?
  • What are my rights?

You want to make sure you’re choosing the right lawyer for your case. We have successfully represented clients against gun, firearms, and weapons charges. 

They should be someone who will aggressively fight to preserve your freedom and defend your rights. They should know how to craft a strong defense and find weaknesses in the case being brought against you.

Howard Dworman at Dworman Law has years of experience representing clients facing charges of weapons crimes. If you find yourself in this situation, call us today at (602) 698-5520.



Phoenix Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

Drug-related offenses in Arizona are aggressively prosecuted and severely penalized. 

If you have been charged with a drug crime, it is vital that you get legal protection as soon as possible because time is a critical factor in building your defense. You’ll want a qualified Arizona defense attorney who has a solid track record of winning defense cases, whether in state or federal court.

In Phoenix and surrounding cities, Arizonans trust Dworman Law for our successful track record in criminal defense. Our defense attorney Howard Dworman is uniquely experienced in fighting drug charges, as he has formerly worked with the Arizona Attorney General’s office and the Maricopa County Public Defender’s office. 

He has dismissed numerous criminal cases, lowered charges, and obtained Not Guilty verdicts in state and federal courts. 

Call Dworman Law today at (602) 698-5520.


What Drug Activities And Substances Are Illegal In Arizona?

A variety of offenses can fall under the umbrella of drug crimes, including:

  • Cultivation (e.g. growing of plants to make drugs)
  • Distribution
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Drug possession
  • Manufacturing
  • Possession of drugs with intent to sell
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Smuggling
  • Trafficking
  • Transportation.

What drugs are illegal in Arizona? The Arizona Uniform Controlled Substances Act names many drugs as controlled substances, including methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, ketamine, certain opioids, and other narcotics. Prescription drugs may also result in drug charges if they are allegedly being distributed or used in unlawful ways.

Various parts of Arizona law prosecute drug offenses. Narcotic drug possession, manufacturing, possession with intent to distribute, and trafficking are governed by Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3408. Meanwhile, dangerous drug offenses fall under ARS 13-3407, prescription drug offenses under ARS 13-3406, and paraphernalia possession under ARS 13-3415.


Is Drug Crime A Misdemeanor Or Felony In Arizona?

A drug offense can either be a misdemeanor or a felony in Arizona. The severity of the drug charge depends on the classification (or “schedule”) of the narcotics involved, the amount of the substance in question, and whether this is a first-time or repeat violation.

Either way, a drug conviction in the state typically carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence, even when it is a first offense. Potential prison sentences for a state drug felony are as follows:

  • Class 2 Drug Felony:
    • First-time offense – Minimum 4 years, maximum 10 years
    • Subsequent offense – Minimum 14 years, maximum 28 years
  • Class 3 Drug Felony:
    • First-time offense – Minimum 2.5 years, maximum 7 years
    • Subsequent offense – Minimum 10 years, maximum 20 years
  • Class 4 Drug Felony:
    • First-time offense – Minimum 1.5 years, maximum 3 years
    • Subsequent offense – Minimum 8 years, maximum 12 years
  • Class 5 Drug Felony:
    • First-time offense – Minimum 0.75 years, maximum 2 years
    • Subsequent offense – Minimum 4 years, maximum 6 years
  • Class 6 Drug Felony:
    • First-time offense – Minimum 0.5 years, maximum 1.5 years
    • Subsequent offense – Minimum 3 years, maximum 4.5 years.

A serious drug conviction could adversely impact your life, especially because criminal records in Arizona cannot be expunged (erased) or sealed (hidden). After you endure the penalties of a jail sentence and fines, the record could still damage your employment prospects, housing opportunities, and relationships.

This is why you should entrust your case to a defense lawyer with proven experience. In the hands of a competent attorney, it may be possible to lower your charges or dismiss them altogether.


When Does A Drug Offense Become A Federal Crime?

Some drug violations are prosecuted at the federal level, particularly when they involve out-of-state activity. Examples are when the substances are moved across state lines or international borders, or when email, fax, or mail is used.

Federal drug offenses are handled by national agencies such as the DEA and the FBI. They are among the most tenacious law enforcement entities in the US, equipped with a vast amount of resources to investigate and apprehend offenders. The penalties for a federal drug conviction can also be much more severe.

If you are facing federal drug charges, or even if you are only being investigated for drug-related allegations, do not wait to enlist a powerful attorney. Choosing a competent defense lawyer – and doing it fast – can help safeguard your freedom and minimize the ruinous impact of a federal conviction.


Why Time Is Crucial In Fighting A Drug Charge

Whether at the state or federal level, drug prosecutors do not take their job lightly. To build a case against a potential offender, they employ a variety of investigative tactics such as undercover officers and confidential informants. It is common for a drug investigation to be well underway even before charges are brought. By the time you learn of your charges, a strong case may already be prepared against you.

The earlier you approach a defense attorney, the better you can protect your rights, avoid damaging mistakes, and attack the prosecution’s case.

Your attorney should also look out for the legitimacy of the law enforcement procedure. They will investigate the case based on questions such as: 

  • Was the investigation or arrest lawful? 
  • Does the informant have a personal motivation to say anything against you? 
  • Were your rights violated at any point in the process? 

Having a lawyer from the get-go can help ensure that proper procedure is followed. If there were procedural violations, this may be grounds to dismiss the charges.


Fighting Your Drug Charges In Arizona

To defend our clients facing a drug-related charge, we pour our skills and resources to cover the different aspects of each case. Our legal service includes:

  • Building the best defense strategies against your drug charge – We have a wide range of legal defenses in our arsenal, and we work with you to create a specific strategy for your case.
  • Guiding you to avoid costly mistakes such as making statements, admitting to things, violating existing orders, and signing away your rights
  • Scrutinizing the prosecution’s investigation and the officers’ arrest procedure
  • Negotiating for much lighter charges or penalties
  • Arranging a favorable plea deal, if applicable
  • Walking you through the whole criminal justice process and guiding you on your options
  • Updating you every step of the way and providing clear answers to your questions.

If you work with us, you’ll be backed by a capable team led by hard-hitting criminal defense attorney Howard Dworkin. Choose Dworman Law to defend your rights and freedom.

Contact Dworman Law

Act now to protect yourself from drug charges by calling us at (602) 698-5520. We serve clients in Phoenix and all throughout Arizona.


Phoenix Sex Crimes Lawyer

In the state of Arizona, sex crimes are some of the most severely punished crimes. Even offenses that don’t involve bodily injury or harm can get up to 1.5 years of jail time. A conviction may also mean getting lifetime probation and mandatory registration as a sex offender. 

If you’ve been accused of or charged with an alleged sex crime in AZ, an experienced sex crime attorney can investigate your case and aggressively defend your rights. You don’t have to face these charges alone. 

At Dworman Law, we are committed to making sure that our clients are fairly and equally represented in court. Our criminal defense attorney Howard Dworman has the skills and experience to combat the allegations against you. Mr. Dworman has achieved many case dismissals and acquittals, and has even prevented certain sex crime charges for clients through his immense pre-charge work. 

Contact Dworman Law today at (602) 698-5520 to protect your rights.


Types of Sex Crimes

There are several classifications of sexual offenses in the state. These charges depend on the nature of the act and the age of the victim. 

They include:

  1. Indecent Exposure, as defined in Arizona Revised Statutes 13-402, refers to the intentional act of exposing one’s genitals, anus, or female breasts (with the exception of breastfeeding) in a public place, knowing that someone else may be alarmed or offended by such action. Indecent exposure is a class 1 misdemeanor if the victim is 15 years or older. It’s a class 6 felony if the victim is below 15 years old, or if the offender has two or more priors
  2. Public Sexual Indecency, under ARS 13-403, refers to the act of intentionally engaging in sexual contact, intercourse, or bestiality in a public place, with someone present who may be alarmed or offended by such behavior
  3. Child Pornography involves the intentional act of filming, photographing, recording, displaying, or distributing materials where a minor is engaged in sexual conduct. This is a class 2 felony if the victim is below 15 years old. This crime may be prosecuted under various Arizona laws, depending on the specific offense. For instance, sexual exploitation of a minor is prosecuted under ARS 13-3553, commercial sexual exploitation of a minor is under ARS 13-3552, and dangerous crimes under children fall under ARS 13-705.
  4. Prostitution means agreeing to, engaging in, or offering to exchange in sexual conduct or intercourse with another person in exchange for monetary or other valuable considerations. The main law against prostitution in Arizona is ARS 13-3214.
  5. Child Molestation under ARS 13-1410, involves intentionally engaging in sexual contact with a child under the age of 15.
  6. Sexual Abuse is defined in ARS 13-1404 as the knowing or intentional sexual engagement with someone without their consent. This is a class 3 felony if the victim is under 15 years of age, and a class 5 felony if the victim is older than that.
  7. Sexual Assault involves intentionally engaging in sexual intercourse or in oral sexual contact with another person, without their consent. Pursuant to ARS 13-1406, this is a class 2 felony in the state. However, there are more severe penalties if the act involves administering a drug or if the accused has one or more priors. 
  8. Violent Sexual Assault is an aggravated form of the previous type of sex crime, prosecuted under ARS 13 14-23. It involves the use or threatened use of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon.


Arizona Sex Offender Registration

Some sex crimes in the Arizona Revised Statute have harsher sentencing than those for second-degree murder. Some of the mandatory minimum sentences may even tie a person in prison for life if convicted.

On top of these harsh sentencing ranges and penalties, a convicted person is required to add their name to the list of registered sex offenders in the state. The list of registered sexual offenders is accessible to many different parties who can easily search and find that person’s name at will. This also almost always guarantees that the person will be unemployable for a lot of jobs for the rest of their life. 

Once a person is released from prison or jail, the state will assess and assign their risk level on a scale of one to three:

  • Level 1 Offender: Accessible to law enforcement agencies only
  • Level 2 Offender: Accessible to all community organizations that are involved with children
  • Level 3 Offender: Accessible to the above, plus your neighbors

Registration is required within 10 days after conviction, or within 10 days after entering the state. Level 3 offenders are prohibited from residing within 1000 feet of a daycare center or a school.


Legal Defenses for a Sex Crimes Charge

Your criminal defense attorney will help protect your rights and ensure the best outcomes for the charges brought against you. To do this, they’ll work out the best defense tactics and strategies to use for your case. Here are some of them:

  1. Suppression of evidence because of the following:
  • Forced confessions
  • Right to counsel violations
  • Police bias or coercion
  • Miranda violations
  • Illegal searches
  • Tainted evidence because of mishandling
  1. Proving an alibi that the defendant could not possibly have been at the scene at the time the crime was committed
  2. Proving that the plaintiff consented to the alleged sexual act or intercourse
  3. Establishing the lack of evidence provided by the prosecution to proceed with a conviction
  4. Discrediting the statements provided by the plaintiff or the witnesses, or identifying the plaintiff’s motivation for making a false accusation
  5. Working with expert witnesses to establish mistaken conclusions or faulty computer crime analysis
  6. Proving insanity or mental incapacity which precludes the defendant’s liability

These strategies can help the accused reduce the charges, get the case dismissed, obtain an acquittal, or receive lighter penalties. 


Contact a Phoenix Sex Crimes Defense Attorney

An experienced defense attorney will promptly investigate and analyze your case, doing everything possible to find you the best possible outcome. They’ll effectively represent you in court through innovative defense tactics, work with experts who can testify to strengthen your case, and relentlessly combat the prosecution’s strategy.

Howard Dworman has years of experience defending clients and protecting their rights. Contact us at (602) 698-5520 today.



Probation: Distinguishing Theory from Practice

This article discusses the intent behind probation; why probation’s expectations are unrealistic the majority of the time; and what being on probation is really like. 

Please keep in mind, this content is generalized; everything discussed does not apply to all situations or every person.

Probation is intended to focus on rehabilitation.  A person is “rehabilitated,” when they accept responsibility for their action(s), understand and agree their inappropriate behavior(s) caused them to be placed on probation, and proactively correct their behavior(s) and cognitive process to show conformity with society’s norm.” 

Most important, here, is distinguishing theory from practice.

Theoretically, rehabilitation is an ideal and perfect solution to many problems in the criminal justice system.  Recidivism would not exist if all people placed on probation were successfully rehabilitated.  Of course, probation’s goal is to attain 0% recidivism. 

You might be thinking, ‘what do you mean,’ “recidivism?”   Great thought!  Recidivism is another way of saying “re-offend.”  Recidivism occurs when a convicted person re-offends while serving their sentence (jail, prison, parole, probation).  Of course, 0% recidivism is a mere theory, an unrealistic theory at that.

Some people choose to live a criminal lifestyle and do not want to conform; to be proactive; to hold themselves accountable.  These factors are the most defeating for probationers: a person must want to ‘conform,’ ‘be proactive,’ and be held ‘accountable.’  At the end of the day, no one else can do that for another person.

In practice, as a rough estimate, less than 50% are rehabilitated.  Really, the most important question here is ‘Why?’ 

The vast majority of unsuccessful probationers do not lack the skills required to be successful.  Said another way, “rehabilitation” is not all-or-nothing.  Most people on probation accept responsibility for their behavior and hold themselves accountable.  They understand their choices put them on probation.  Many correct their behavior and thought process.  However, the failure occurs when the government (courts, prosecutors, probation officers) overwhelms a person with too many tasks, tools, and/or requirements at one time

Few people on probation are able to attend counseling classes, work a full-time job (or get hired at all), earn enough money to disengage from all negative behavior, and report to their probation officer.  To be clear, probation puts a lot of extra responsibilities on a person.  A person who has already shown inability to conform with society’s “norm.” 

Alternatively, sometimes probation fails to provide enough resources to a person for successful rehabilitation.  Most probation officers are over-worked.  Caseloads can range from 60-120 people, who are labelled as “a file;” “a case;” or “a client.”  

Most treatment providers are contracted with the government.  Their caseloads are no different, except the number of people being treated by one person may be higher than the amount of people being supervised by a probation officer.  The biggest downfall is, no two crimes are the same; no two criminals are the same; no two people are the same.  Thus, when 10 people are placed in group therapy, if you are lucky, 3 of the 10 will get the treatment they actually need.

Well, at this point are you confused?  Are you thinking, ‘wait, you said the people who are helping have too much and then you said they have too little.’  Yes!  Exactly!  In fact, you are confused and rightfully so. 


This is the reason the rehabilitation theory fails.  In case you don’t care, here is the reason you should: everyone is affected when probation fails to implement its intended design (by everyone I mean society; the courts; family members; friends; victims; and the probationer themselves). 

Picture this:  imagine you are a up and coming, successful thirty-year-old, with a college degree and full-time job with a successful career.  You have a loving and supportive family.  Every once and awhile you do something that maybe totes the line between legal and illegal. 

One day, you’re at work and break your left leg.  You see your doctor immediately.  The doctor decides your leg needs to be immobilized and puts it in a cast.  Your doctor explains, “based on the seriousness of the fracture, it will take at least two years for your leg to heal properly before you will be able to do anything like you used to.  Logically, you will need to learn to use crutches, maybe even a cane.  No problem, right?  You are perfectly capable of learning to change your behavior, right? 

Fast forward three months.  You are getting it for the most part.  You start to accept that you did something you regret and you begin to accept responsibility for it.   You also accept your life just isn’t the same; you are moving so much slower than everyone else and you are limited on what you can do and where you can go.  Your employer tells you that you cannot continue to do your job because you are moving too slow.  Your family tries being supportive; they help you get around and give you rides, but they have their own problems and now you start to feel like you are becoming a burden. 

By the fourth month you have decide its time to stop being a burden on your family and you are going to prove to your boss that you are just as good as you were before.  You kick things up a notch and push yourself a bit harder than you should.  You simply cannot afford to lose your job or your family. 

Finally, after the fourth month you crack.  You cannot take it any more.  You decided you’re going to free your leg from the cast.  You throw the crutches on the floor and start to walk.  You’re thinking, ‘I’m fine!”  Another month goes by and you start to notice your leg is weak.  One day you wake up and try to walk.  The next thing you know is that you are lying face first on your floor.  You go back to the doctor. 

The doctor scolds you for removing the cast because your leg did not heal yet.  The doctor puts your leg in a new cast and tells the cast must be on your leg for some additional time now to allow your leg to correct the original injury and the new one you created.  The doctor also reinforces the cast with a thin layer of steel so you cannot simply break it open again.  Finally, the doctor explains the new damage you caused will require going to physical therapy in order to rehab it.  To top it all off, the doctor tells you your leg will likely never function better than 75% of what it is supposed to.  You think to yourself, ‘Great! My life just got turned upside down” and you convince yourself life will never be the same again. 


Welcome to life on probation

You must learn to live your life completely differently and, if you don’t (if you fail),  you will all but certainly put yourself in a worse position than when you started. 

Something you should recognize when you are thinking about all of this.   Most people on probation are uneducated and unable to find employment.  The majority do not have a strong family support network. 

Now imagine yourself as a person who made a poor decision and engaged in criminal behavior.  As a result, you are left with no job and no family support.  Most people will keep “breaking off their cast” and fall back into a position where they give up; you accept this is your life now and no matter what anyone tells you, you start to ignore all your accomplishments.

Probation fails to give you the tools required to prevent the non-conforming behavior; your Doctor and Physical Therapist should have taught you to alternative ways to get around, to do things, to live a “normal life.”