When you choose Stewart Law Group to represent you in your divorce or other family law matter, you will be working with a team of Phoenix family lawyers that has more than 65 years of combined experience. We have represented more than a thousand clients in cases ranging from routine divorce, to military divorce, high net worth divorce, child custody disputes, post-decree modifications, domestic violence, and more. Our Phoenix family law firm only takes cases for which we believe we can provide meaningful help and when we think we can make a real difference in the life of our client. We keep our case loads small so that we can focus our efforts on achieving the best possible results for every client.
Hiring our firm means giving yourself the advantage of working with an experienced team of family lawyers who have repeatedly proven their skill and ability inside and outside of the courtroom. Our dedication to winning our clients’ cases has earned us the abiding appreciation of our many past clients, as well as the respect of our peers in the legal profession. For example, Founding Attorney Scott David Stewart has an Avvo Rating of 10.0 Superb, based on factors such as his experience, his recognition in the industry, and his record of professional conduct. Attorney Stewart has also been honored with the considerable distinction of the AV Preeminent® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, a peer-review rating that is among the most highly sought-after recognitions in the legal profession. Stewart Law Group is additionally an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau®. Trust in our experience and our proven track record of success.
We have created a relaxing and welcoming environment at our offices. Our family law firm is a place where you can come in, sit down, and speak with a legal professional who knows the law and understands your situation. In fact, the person with whom you meet at your very first consultation is the same person who will be helping and supporting you throughout the process. We take time to sit with you, to explain the power of confidentiality, and give you all of the information you need to feel confident about your future. You don’t have to retell your story every time you come to our office and you don’t have to wonder if the family attorney standing by your side in the courtroom knows all of the facts about your case.
We know that you’re going through one of the worst times of your life and we know that we can help make it easier on you and on your family. Our Phoenix family lawyers take on the task of guiding you through this experience and fighting to protect your rights. In criminal defense cases, we advocate for our clients against criminal charges ranging from driving under the influence and shoplifting to aggravated assault and robbery. We safeguard our clients’ rights in disputes over property division and child custody during and after divorce. We pursue financial compensation for clients who have been injured or lost loved ones in serious car accidents caused by the negligence of others. Whatever the nature of the situation, you can have confidence that your case is in good hands with us. Take the first step now by contacting us for an initial consultation to get started on a strategy for your case.
An estate plan is one of many adult responsibilities. Preparing for succession of the family business. Choosing a trusted individual for the role of trustee, executor, attorney-in-fact, or fiduciary. Determining how trust funds will be distributed to a minor child should the worst happen. These decisions profoundly impact loved ones, family members, close friends, and favored charities.
Every client has objectives, including avoiding probate and estate taxes. Almost universally, people want their estates to remain intact to benefit family and loved ones. The attorney gathers pertinent financial information and creates an individualized plan that benefits the client, the estate, and those chosen to receive the property. Many federal laws impact inheritances and gifts made during the grantor’s lifetime (for instance, estate and gift tax, and generation skipping transfer tax).
There are deductions to plan: the marital deduction, gift and estate tax charitable deduction, annual exclusion gift, education transfer tax benefits, and so on. Furthermore, there are accepted methods of avoiding taxes while caring for others who need assistance, including: spendthrift trusts, generation-skipping trusts, life insurance trusts, special needs trusts, and grantor trusts, to name a few.
The estate planning process protects property and acquisitions so those go to designated beneficiaries. Again, estate planning is about control. Although laws regulate transfer of ownership in business interests or ventures, there are ways of structuring companies as LLCs and family limited partnerships, ensuring the next generation is well-positioned for the future. Estate planning considers property distribution, continuity of a closely held company, division of investments among beneficiaries, special needs trusts for disabled children, trust agreements between spouses, and so much more. And, yes, requires making end-of-life decisions.
When spouses and parents fail to plan, they leave loved ones vulnerable. Heirs must shoulder the burden of probating the intestate estate where Arizona law controls the outcome. The very people a decedent cared most about – a spouse, a child, dedicated employees of the family business – have no option but to endure an often lengthy period of uncertainty. There are estate taxes and liabilities to satisfy, typically necessitating asset liquidation. A surviving spouse could be dispossessed from the marital home, the children uprooted. Don’t leave your legacy to a probate judge. Take control.
Estate planning is about controlling property distribution. Too many Arizonans misunderstand why intestate succession law controls inheritance in the absence of an estate plan. Until someone has undergone this organizational process – that is, made a Last Will and Testament, living trust, power of attorney, business succession plan, and living will – it’s uncharted territory. Get familiar with estate plan instruments. Talk to an attorney. Carry out personal objectives by implementing the legal tools available under Arizona and federal law. Begin that process here, today.
There are plenty of myths worth dispelling, too, like “there’s plenty of time” or “estate plans are only for the wealthy.” Understand that estate planning is about being ready today for what could happen tomorrow. Crisis planning is no planning!
Existing plans need occasional review and revision as well. That’s to be expected. Keeping an estate plan relevant may involve codicils, amendments, revocations, or newly drafted documents. Do not be intimidated by change, prepare for it.
A thoughtful estate plan uses language that allows for many contingencies with built-in flexibility. But only to a point. Be mindful that divorce, death of a spouse, remarriage, birth of a first child or grandchild, or other life-changing event should motivate careful review with possible updates. For example, removing a former spouse as trust beneficiary; appointing someone else as executor in the Will; or adding a guardianship clause to both Will and trust.
Depending upon the circumstances, schedule review every three to five years. Make notes on a separate sheet of paper and arrange to go over those points with a lawyer. Not only do personal circumstances change, but new legislation and the interpretation of existing law could also impact implementation of the plan. Have an experienced estate planning attorney look things over to avoid unintended consequences. These are complex instruments, not do-it-yourself projects!
An estate planning attorney with Stewart Law Group will focus on the client’s circumstances and make specific recommendations. By bringing purpose and strategy to the estate planning process, the attorney prepares legal instruments that contemplate virtually every scenario, tax consideration, and family nuance. At SLG, we integrate the client’s goals with his or her complete financial picture and plan how best to preserve assets for beneficiaries.
How should anyone in Arizona defend against a charge of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol? There is no sense in waiting to see what might happen next. Your DUI defense begins with you. Take action now because every DUI conviction – misdemeanor or felony – will have direct and collateral consequences sufficient to disrupt your life on just about every level. Relationships suffer. Employment opportunities vanish. Finances crumble. Consult an experienced DUI defense attorney with the Stewart Law Group. We pull out all the stops for our clients. Trust us to help you, too.
Under Arizona DUI law, it is a crime to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or some other intoxicating substance. Impairment need only be slight and includes lawful use of prescription drugs. There is no safe harbor from Arizona DUI law. Although an affirmative defense for some, generally, a patient with a valid MJ Card could be arrested, charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced for driving under the influence of medical marijuana.
Every DUI case involves unique circumstances. Arrest for so-called “drunk driving” or “drugged driving” could lead to a misdemeanor (Class 1) or felony charge (Class 6 or Class 4).
Dismissal without trial is possible, too. Defense counsel will identify during discovery any weaknesses in the State’s case, making acquittal more likely. Strategically, the defense negotiates any plea agreement from a position of strength. Discovery is an opportunity to get answers about what happened. How did law enforcement handle the traffic stop, BAC testing, arrest, and Miranda Warnings? Were defendant’s rights violated? Did police misstep or exceed authority? If a confession was obtained, how and under what circumstances? Talk to a lawyer and learn why DUI charges are sometimes dropped.
A driver charged with DUI is all too often convinced that jail is inevitable. Not so! There are many defenses to a DUI charge, whether alleged impairment was slight or the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over the legal limit. If the defendant has a strong case, then why accept the prosecution’s offer of a plea deal? No outcome can be guaranteed, but experience teaches the DUI defense attorney how to assess the merits of the prosecution’s case.
An attorney’s defense strategy includes asserting affirmative defenses. Defense counsel is alert to any issue with the prosecution’s case in chief. Specifically, what will impede the State’s ability to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt on every element of the DUI crime?
There are many ways to challenge the State’s case, starting with the traffic stop that led to arrest. Was the traffic stop lawful? Did police have reasonable cause to pull the driver over? Were proper procedures followed by police at the sobriety checkpoint? What field sobriety tests were conducted? Did the driver refuse the officer’s request for blood, breath, urine, or other testing? Was Arizona’s implied consent law properly explained? Was the vehicle impounded? Were Miranda warnings given to the driver when questioned in police custody?
Defending against a DUI charge takes skill and confidence built on years of criminal trial practice. This is where our legal team excels. Our DUI defense attorneys are all former prosecutors. Experience matters.
After a finding of guilt by plea, bench trial, or jury verdict, sentencing follows. Arizona has some of the toughest DUI laws on the books, including zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. At a minimum, a DUI sentence includes court fines and assessments (in the thousands), incarceration (jail or prison, depending), and suspended driver’s license. With probation, there are additional costs: drug and alcohol testing, counseling, and installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) in the vehicle. There will be a criminal record with long-lasting stigma. Is this a second or third offense? Another reason to aggressively defend against DUI charges – repeat offenders, or recidivists, are more severely punished. Learn more about how the state of Arizona defines extreme DUI, super extreme DUI and aggravated felony DUI.
With a DUI, freedom and hope for the future are on the line. Do not go into the courtroom unprepared, unrepresented, or under-represented. Arizona DUI law is a very complex niche of criminal law practice. Start preparing by reading the DUI information on this website. Then present the strongest case possible through your attorney. Our DUI defense team has proven, again and again, that we are a real match against the State’s resources.
Consult an attorney early on so a thorough DUI investigation can be conducted and an aggressive strategy developed. Prepare to fight all charges from every possible angle. Still, sometimes appeal follows conviction and sentencing. When criminal appellate practice is needed, we help our clients with that, too.
Have you been charged with a crime in Arizona? Did something go terribly wrong and now you’re under police investigation? Is a bench warrant out for your arrest? Were you re-arrested for violating probation? Is a bond or release hearing coming up? No one should face criminal charges without competent legal representation. When individual rights are in jeopardy or personal freedom could be lost, that is where our defense attorneys come in.
When in trouble with the law, waste no time getting legal assistance. Consult an experienced criminal defense attorney with the Stewart Law Group proven ability to lighten the darkest circumstances. No matter how challenging the proceedings, no matter how serious the offense, we can help.
Doing nothing to prepare a strong defense, that is what could stack the deck against you. Your defense has to begin with you. It’s not the prosecutor’s job to look out for the defendant’s best interests. Nor is the criminal justice system always as “just” as it could be. SLG’s criminal defense team has the resources, intelligence, legal and scientific training, and courtroom experience to make a real difference in the proceedings. Although no attorney can guarantee a specific outcome, we promise to do everything in our power to obtain the best possible results. We mean it.
Every criminal defense attorney with SLG is a former prosecutor. As such, we anticipate the State’s case and quickly spot weaknesses that could benefit the defense. The prosecution has the burden of proving every element of the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. To the trained eye, that burden provides opportunity for defense counsel to attack the prosecution’s case in chief.
No criminal trial is a slam dunk. The prosecution will have a strategy for conviction; the defense must have a strategy for acquittal. Although dismissal, acquittal, plea bargain, or reduced sentence are all possibilities, the stakes vary considerably with the offense.
A criminal investigation, trial, or conviction may weaken a party’s family law case, too. Accusations of cyber-stalking the other spouse, of threatening domestic violence, or of violating an order of protection or order against harassment, these could easily damage one’s case for child custody. Criminal charges may influence the family law judge’s determination of parenting time and legal decision-making authority. If hoping to co-parent your child, then hire the criminal defense attorney who has a proven track record of fighting and obtaining positive results.
Generally, violent crimes that put others in danger of serious physical injury or death, such as arson of an occupied building, carry harsher sentences than non-violent crimes, such as a weaponless criminal trespass. Armed robbery carries penalties far more severe than shoplifting or bad check writing. Grand theft auto is criminalized and penalized more harshly than petty theft.
Defense counsel approaches the sentencing phase as a way to obtain a more favorable sentence and probationary terms, to show mitigating circumstances, seek less jail time, and offer evidence of the client’s good moral character in the community. The sentencing hearing is an opportunity to show the judge the defendant’s willingness to make lifestyle changes, to take responsibility for past acts, and be a better citizen.
Not every case will result in dismissal or acquittal. That a conviction was not supported by the evidence; that the State did not carry its burden of proof; that the sentencing judge’s orders exceeded Arizona’s sentencing guidelines, these are all basis for appeal. Experience in criminal appellate practice is yet another reason to hire a criminal defense attorney with SLG.
All convictions have collateral consequences for the defendant and his or her family. Whether a misdemeanor or felony conviction, a criminal record follows that person everywhere. A criminal record may be expunged or conviction set aside when certain conditions are met. We can help with that, too. By far and away, though, the most effective defense involves a sustained attack from start to finish. Keep fighting throughout trial, sentencing hearing, and any criminal appeal.
Although the elements of crimes vary substantially, the proceedings are governed by the same court rules. Read about Arizona crimes, court proceedings, and punishment on this website.
We also provide pre-charge representation. This involves the defense attorney in the case early on, often while law enforcement is still investigating. Police investigations can go on for months, sometimes years, especially with complex white collar crimes and fraudulent schemes. If the prosecutor files an information or the grand jury indicts, then pre-charge defense preparation could place the client in a much better position.