Criminal Defense

Criminal Defense Attorney Serving Tempe and Surrounding Areas

As a former criminal and DUI prosecutor, James Novak is a skillful and experienced Tempe criminal defense lawyer who serves people throughout the Phoenix area. He can mount the strongest possible defense on your behalf, whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Mr. Novak represents people who have been accused of DUI, drug crimes, theft crimes, sex crimes, assault, domestic violence, and other offenses.


Arizona punishes drunk drivers harshly. Under section 28-1381, driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug or vapor, or a combination of these is unlawful if the driver is even slightly impaired. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .08. When someone is caught driving with a BAC of .15-.20, he or she is considered to be under the extreme influence of intoxicating liquor. The sentence for this is a minimum of 30 days in jail and a fine of $250, and the convicted defendant is ineligible for probation or suspension of this sentence. People caught driving with a BAC of .20 or more also may be found guilty of driving under the extreme influence of intoxicating liquor and may face a minimum sentence of at least 45 days in jail and a $500 fine, without being eligible for probation or suspension of the sentence. Other penalties also may apply, including the requirement of installing a certified interlock ignition device (IID), which stops someone from starting a car unless they pass a breath test.

Police are required to follow a number of procedural rules, and a failure to follow these rules, such as failing to have probable cause for a DUI stop, may result in evidence being thrown out. Mr. Novak can present a persuasive defense to get the charges dismissed or reduced. He also represents people charged with other vehicular offenses.

Drug Crimes

In Arizona, drugs are divided into six groups, including toxic vapors, peyote, marijuana, prescription drugs, dangerous drugs, and narcotics. Dangerous drugs include methamphetamines, mescaline, LSD, and ecstasy. Narcotics include heroin, cocaine, and opium. How you are sentenced depends on these factors, as well as whether the conviction is for a first or repeat offense, the threshold amount, the purpose of having the drug (personal use or for sale), your prior criminal record, mitigating or aggravating factors, and whether any other criminal charges are involved, among other things.

Usually, prosecutors must have indicia of intent to sell, such as packaging materials or scales, in order to charge possession of drugs for sale. However, if you possess an amount over the threshold amount, you can be charged with possession with intent to distribute even if you did not intend to sell the drug. For example, if you possess more than nine grams of cocaine or one gram of heroin, you can be charged with intent to distribute. Possessing a dangerous drug with intent to sell carries a potential sentence of 1 1/2 years of imprisonment. Certain drugs, such as methamphetamine, carry even harsher penalties.

Since penalties are more severe for repeat offenses, it is crucial to consult an Arizona criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. There are numerous defenses that may be available in your case. For example, police do not always follow the appropriate procedures when conducting a search of a suspect's car, home, or person. If a search is illegal, we may be able to get the evidence of drug possession from that search suppressed, and without that evidence, the prosecution may not have a drug crimes case.

Theft Crimes

There are many different acts that can constitute theft under Arizona Revised Statutes section 13-1802. For example, A.R.S. 13-1805 covers shoplifting. The consequences of any type of theft may include prison or jail terms, fines, costs, restitution, and a criminal record.

Sex Crimes

Some of the sex offenses that we handle include child molestation, child pornography, cyber crimes, sexual assault, indecent exposure, sexual abuse or misconduct, luring, and dangerous crimes against children. If you are charged with a sex crime involving children, you should be aware that there are mandatory sentencing laws that require prison time of 13-27 years. You may face a lifetime of registering as a sex offender, which carries grave social consequences. We understand that some of these allegations are false and brought with improper motives, and we will do all that we can to protect your future.

Assault and Crimes of Violence

Assaults may be misdemeanors or felonies in Arizona, with felony convictions (known as aggravated assault) carrying greater penalties. Under A.R.S. section 13-1203, someone commits assault by intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly causing a physical injury to someone else, placing someone else in fear of immediate harm, or knowingly touching someone with the intent to provoke, injure, or insult that person. All crimes of violence are taken seriously in Arizona. Even a misdemeanor assault conviction may result in jail time, making it important to consult an attorney.

Domestic Violence

Under Arizona Revised Statute §13-3601, domestic violence laws apply to a wide range of violent acts in which the parties involved are spouses, former spouses, cohabiting partners, people with a child in common, couples in which one party is carrying the other party's child, in-laws by marriage, minors who live in the same house as the defendant, and people who formerly had an intimate or romantic relationship. Some crimes prohibited and punished as domestic violence include false imprisonment, harassment, stalking, assault, and child abuse. Many people do not realize how seriously domestic violence charges are taken. Domestic violence convictions require defendants to complete a counseling program, and in addition to jail or prison time, the court may prohibit the defendant from contacting the victim or even returning to his or her home with the victim. Additional charges may be brought against a suspect or defendant who violates court orders, making it imperative to consult an experienced attorney.

Additional Areas of Practice

In addition to the areas discussed above, Mr. Novak also represents people who have been charged with many other felonies and misdemeanors, including computer crimes, weapons offenses, probation violations, disorderly conduct, and stalking.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Tempe

If you have been charged with a crime in Phoenix or the surrounding cities, the potential consequences may be devastating. James Novak is an experienced Tempe criminal defense attorney who understands the criminal justice system and can develop a strong and insightful defense strategy to fight the charges in your case. We represent people in Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and other cities throughout Maricopa County. Call us at (480) 413-1499 or use our online form to set up a free consultation if you need a DUI attorney or guidance in any other type of criminal matter.