Adults, juveniles, and minors who are charged as adults may receive lifetime probation as a consequence for criminal activity. But lifetime probation doesn’t always last as long as you’d expect. It’s possible to petition the court and request that your probation is terminated and receive the benefit of an expunged record.
The judge, prosecutor, and counselors will look at a few factors to determine whether your lifetime probation should be removed. These factors include your performance during probation, whether you’re at risk to offend again, your therapist’s recommendations, and the views of the victim. Many people have been successfully taken off of lifetime probation. Working with an attorney during this process is advisable for a favorable outcome.
What to Consider with Lifetime Probation in Arizona
- Probation is often given as part of sentencing for criminal activity
- Lifetime probation doesn’t necessarily mean the sentence lasts for life
- If you behaved well on probation and can provide recommendations that support a reduced sentence, you’ll be likelier to receive that outcome
- In some cases, however, it’s not possible to have your sentence reduced due to the severity of the crime in question
- Working with an attorney is essential for having your charges lessened, as they’ll have experience working with similar cases
Although it’s possible to have your lifetime probation removed, keep in mind that this possibility doesn’t apply to everyone. If you’ve been convicted of a criminal offense against a minor younger than 12, for example, you won’t be eligible to receive a sentence reduction.
Probation versus Parole
While probation and parole are similar and both lead to less prison time for the defendant, there are some crucial differences you should know about. Probation applies to adult offenders who are placed on community supervision through a probation agency. It’s meant to replace time spent in prison and is considered a lesser penalty. Parole, however, applies to offenders who are let out of prison but must serve the rest of their sentence in the community.
How does Expungement Work?
Expungement is a court-ordered process that seals or erases the legal record of a criminal offense or arrest and is also called “setting aside” a crime. In many cases, landlords, potential employers, and others who check your background won’t find any legal record of your expunged crimes.
Penalties for Criminal Charges in Arizona
The penalties you’ll receive for committing a criminal offense depend on the nature of the crime. Misdemeanors are considered less severe than felony crimes and are defined as class 1, 2, or 3 offenses, with class 1 being the most severe. The harshest penalty you can receive for a misdemeanor crime is a 6-month period in jail, even if you have multiple charges.
A felony conviction (such as vehicular manslaughter, homicide, or murder), on the other hand, often leads to prison time. Other common felony crimes include theft, burglary, aggravated robbery, and aggravated assault. Like misdemeanor crimes, a class 1 felony is the most severe of all and is reserved for murder alone.
Possible Defenses for Criminal Charges
Every U.S. citizen has a right to appear in court to address their criminal charges. If you end up going to court, it’s best to work with an attorney who can guide you through the process of facing the judge. It’s also a good idea to get familiar with common defenses that your attorney may use for your case. For example, if you were charged with a DUI, your attorney may be able to help you prove your innocence by showing you weren’t impaired, that you were under the legal limit, or that you weren’t actually in control of the car.
In other cases, your defense may be able to assert that you didn’t commit the offense in question by offering evidence to support that. You may decide to give your version of the story or invite witnesses to the stand. It’s possible to accidentally incriminate yourself, so don’t forget to speak with an attorney before making any decisions on how to proceed with this.
FAQ on Criminal Charges and Consequences in Arizona
Below are some of the most common questions related to criminal offenses and their penalties in the state of Arizona:
Q: What happens if I’m arrested for a felony crime?
If you’re arrested for a felony offense, you’ll likely have to face felony charges and court proceedings. But this can go in several different directions. If you’re arrested for a felony crime and the prosecution finds that the elements for proving the crime haven’t been met, they may choose to designate it as a lesser crime (misdemeanor).
Q: Can a misdemeanor crime escalate to a felony charge later?
Yes, you may receive additional charges if it’s found that there were other elements to the crime that made it a more serious offense. For example, if you were pulled over for driving while intoxicated and it was later discovered that you were driving on a suspended license, you may receive a more serious charge. In short, when additional evidence is found after you’ve been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor, you could still get felony charges later.
Q: How will a felony crime impact my life?
A felony charge on your record will have a serious and detrimental impact on your life. You might lose your right to own a firearm, be on a jury, or even vote. Misdemeanor convictions, on the other hand, will have a lesser negative impact. Keep in mind that potential landlords and employers often run background checks, and felony crimes can be a major hinderance.
What to Do if You’re Facing Charges
Keep in mind that many people have been successfully taken off lifetime probation. Legal proceedings can be frustrating and complicated, so working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is a good way to ease your mind during the process. An experienced professional can answer your questions, review your case, and help you put together the best course of action for a positive outcome.