Understand the difference between a natural life and life sentence.
Many people get confused when distinguishing a life sentence from a natural life sentence, as they sound extremely similar. Countless people think that they mean the same thing. However, that is not the case; there is a big difference between the two prison sentences.
The difference? The possibility for parole.
Natural Life Sentence
According to ARS 13-751 Subsection A Paragraph 2, a defendant who is sentenced to natural life is not eligible for commutation, parole, work furlough, work release or release from confinement on any basis. This is one of the harshest penalties the State of Arizona sentences a person to, only second to the death penalty.
In the same section, it explains that if the defendant is sentenced to life, the defendant shall not be released on any basis until the completion of the service of twenty-five calendar years if the murdered person was fifteen or more years of age and thirty-five years if the murdered person was under fifteen years of age or was an unborn child.
Once a person is eligible for parole, they will go before the Arizona Board of Clemency or a hearing officer appointed by the board.
According to its mission, the board is to ensure public safety by considering and granting parole to inmates who are certified by the Department of Corrections and who appear not to pose a threat to society.
Do You Need Help with Criminal Charges in Arizona?
These sentences are very harsh and are normally reserved for Arizona offenders who have committed serious and often violent crimes.
If you are facing charges for a serious crime in Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Tucson, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Peoria, Glendale, or another city in Arizona, the criminal defense lawyers at JacksonWhite can work to ensure that you avoid such severe sentencing.
Call (480) 818-9943 to schedule a free case review with one of our experienced defense attorneys.