Criminal Law in Arizona
If you’re researching Arizona criminal defense attorneys, it is likely not a good thing. You need help and you need it fast.
If you need a defense lawyer, we’ll bottom-line how to find one fast: Ask your local bar association or friends for referrals or simply Google, “How to find a Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney.”
You may feel overwhelmed and unsure how to move forward. If this sounds like what you are feeling, this article was written for you.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- Arizona criminal laws;
- What you need to know about criminal defense in Arizona; and
- How to work with your Arizona criminal defense attorney.
If you’re in doubt, unsure whether you need to consult with an attorney, don’t hesitate; call and ask if an attorney can help you. The criminal defense law office will let you know.
Arizona Criminal Laws
Certain actions or inactions are classified as crimes in an attempt to prevent harm to society, the government, individuals, and animals.
Arizona criminal laws are found in the Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 13. There are many crimes listed, including drunk driving, robbery, marijuana possession, child abuse, weapon offenses, and traffic offenses.
Your criminal defense lawyer will explain the crime that you’ve been charged with.
Statute of Limitations
Criminal charges must be brought within a certain period of time or be forever barred. If the statute of limitations has passed in a case, charges cannot be brought.
For example, in Arizona, the statute of limitations for:
- Arson is 6 years. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. В§13-107(B)(1).
- Assault and Battery is 1 year. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. В§13-107(B)(2).
- Rape is unlimited. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. В§13-107(A).
One of the first things your defense attorney will check is whether the statute of limitations has passed in your case.
If criminal laws are broken and you are convicted, probation, jail time, fines, restitution, education, counseling, driver’s license suspension, and even death may be ordered.
While Arizona judges have discretion to increase or decrease a sentence, Arizona does have sentencing guidelines. The totality of the circumstances of the crime is considered.
- Sentences will be increased if there are aggravating circumstances.
- Sentences will be increased if there are mitigating circumstances.
In Arizona, sentencing guidelines call for:
- A minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 14 years for rape. The presumption is that 7.5 years is appropriate.
- Sexual conduct with a minor carries a minimum jail sentence of 13 years and maximum jail time of 27 years. The presumption is that 20 years is appropriate.
- Mandatory jail time for a subsequent felony conviction.
What You Need to Know About Criminal Defense
You need a criminal defense attorney even if you know you are completely innocent.
The sooner you hire a lawyer, the better.
If you have been arrested, meaning that police do not allow you to leave the police station or wherever you are, you need a lawyer.
You need to be completely honest and open with your attorney. Even if you think something will make you look bad, disclose it.
Do not make a statement to police, other than to ask for an attorney. Your words can be used against you.
How to Work with a Arizona Criminal Defense Lawyer
- Remember anything you say to a criminal defense attorney will be held in confidence.
- Answer the questions your lawyer asks of you.
- Tell your defense attorney exactly what happened.
- Return all phone calls promptly.
- Provide all requested information in a timely manner.
- Stay in contact with your attorney.
- Make sure the criminal defense law office always has your current address and phone number.
- Remember your criminal defense attorney is always working in your best interests, even if he or she asks difficult questions or is polite and cooperative with the police and prosecutors.
If you have been questioned in or arrested for a crime in Arizona, get good legal help, immediately. You need individualized advice, aggressive representation, and a strong defense strategy. After all, your entire future is at risk.