What Happens if You Lose a Criminal Case in Arizona?
Losing an Arizona criminal defense case is not the end of the world. What matters most is that you have a hardworking Arizona criminal defense attorney in your corner who genuinely cares about you and the outcome of your case. This outcome ultimately hinges on the type of offense you are charged with, the circumstance of the supposed offense and your criminal history (or lack thereof).
Felony Convictions in Arizona
Arizona crimes are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Felonies have a sentencing structure determined by classes. As an example, a class one felony with the highest level of severity is premeditated murder. However, the average felony offense in Arizona is between class two and class six. A class six felony is less serious than the rest. The term “seriousness” is a reference to the possible level of punishment upon conviction.
An individual who has not been convicted of a felony in the past will likely be eligible for probation after the trial results in a conviction. Oftentimes, probation requires a condition that the person spend a year or more in an Arizona county jail, meet specific requirements, take certain classes and pay fees.
If the individual in question has a prior felony conviction, the level of punishment will be that much higher. A previous felony conviction results in that individual’s ineligibility for probation upon conviction at the trial’s end. The bottom line is the greater number of previous felony convictions there are, the stiffer the punishment will be.
Examples of Misdemeanor Convictions in Arizona
Examples of class one misdemeanors include DUI, criminal damage, assault and disorderly conduct. Examples of class two misdemeanors include certain types of assault, departing the scene of an accident and reckless driving. Driving at an egregiously high rate of speed is considered to be criminal speeding that qualifies as a class three misdemeanor.
Penalties for Misdemeanors
An Arizona misdemeanor isn’t as serious as a felony yet still carries a significant punishment. Class one misdemeanors are the most serious variety. A class three misdemeanor is the lowest level. A class one misdemeanor in the state of Arizona can result in upwards of six months in jail, three years of probation and a fine of $2,500 or less. The exception to the probation rule of three years is a DUI misdemeanor that has the potential to result in five years of probation.
Class two misdemeanors have a penalty of upwards of four months in jail, two years of probation and a fine of $750. Surcharges can be added to this fine, making the financial pain of the conviction sting all the more. The maximum penalty for a class three misdemeanor is 30 days in jail, upwards of a full year of probation and a $500 fine including a surcharge.
Choose Your Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney Wisely
Now that you are aware of the high stakes of a criminal conviction in Arizona, it is important that you carefully consider the merits of local criminal defense attorneys. The awareness of the potential punishment provides a golden opportunity to consider plea offers and steer your case in a specific direction. So don’t assume you will automatically be found guilty or that the punishment for a crime in Arizona will be light. Meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney, review all options including a potential appeal and you will be empowered to make a sound decision moving forward.