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What happens if I lose?

Friday / February 23, 2018

One of the most common questions I get when I deal with a new client is “What happens if I lose this case?”  The answer to that question depends on what type of an offense the individual is facing, whether there is prior criminal history, and the circumstances and facts surrounding the current offense.


Misdemeanors vs. Felonies

Crimes in Arizona are classified as either felonies or misdemeanors. Misdemeanors range in levels of seriousness from a class one being the most serious to a class three being the least serious.  The maximum penalty for a class one misdemeanor is six months in jail, a $2500 fine, and up to three years of probation.  (One exception to the three years of probation rule is a misdemeanor DUI which can carry up to five years of probation.)   A class two misdemeanor carries a maximum of four months in jail, a $750 fine plus surcharges, and up to two years of probation.  A class three misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail, a $500 fine plus surcharge, and up to one year of probation.


Typical class one misdemeanors includes offenses such as a assault, disorderly conduct, criminal damage, and DUI.  Typical class two misdemeanors include reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, and some forms of assault. A typical class three misdemeanor would be criminal speeding.


Felonies, on the other hand have a different sentencing structure. The most serious felony is premeditated murder, which is classified as a class one felony. Typical felony offenses range in levels of seriousness from class six to class two – with a class six being the least serious. (Seriousness refers to the potential punishment one can receive when convicted for that class level of felony.) Individuals who have not previously been convicted of a felony offense, in almost all circumstances, are eligible for probation if convicted after trial.  Probation can include as a condition that the individual serve up to one year in the county jail along with other court imposed fees, classes, and requirements.


When an individual has prior felony conviction, punishment increases substantially. Prior felony convictions make an individual ineligible to receive probation if convicted after trial. The more prior felony convictions and individual has the harsher the punishment.


When evaluating a case, it  is extremely important to determine what the potential punishment punishment could be if that individual loses after trial. Knowing the potential punishment gives an individual the opportunity to compare and evaluate any plea offers and to make an appropriate decision on how to proceed in a case. If you have been charged with criminal offense call me at 480-331-7568 set up a no obligation consultation to discuss your case and protect your rights.

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