Most people are familiar with violent crimes. Throughout Arizona, residents of Phoenix, Tempe and even Chandler can hear the stories of violent crimes on the local news. They are easy to recognize, and hard to defend. In addition to criminal implications against the accused, victims suffer from the offense and often seek restitution. A Maricopa County violent crime charge is a serious undertaking that should have a knowledgeable lawyer’s assistance.
A violent crime is a crime that includes the use of force or the threatened use of force. This type of crime includes the intent to hurt, damage or kill someone. Some violent crimes are solely the act of violence, such as homicide or rape. Other crimes are in addition to a different offense such as robbery and kidnapping.
In Arizona, all felony criminal charges are also charged based on whether or not they are dangerous. Dangerous crimes are those that include the use of a weapon, or the infliction of personal injury. By definition, most violent crimes can be considered dangerous. Even if actual harm did not occur, the presence of a weapon might suggest the threatened use of violence. Dangerous felonies receive stiffer penalties than those that are considered non dangerous.
There are many violent crimes, so charges can vary. For the most part, violent crimes will range from a class 6 felony to a class 2 felony if death does not occur. Class 6 felony violent charges typically occur in cases where the person ultimately was not harmed. In cases of death, the charge is considered a homicide, and penalties range from a class 4 felony to first degree murder.
There are also a few violent crimes that are considered misdemeanors. They are assault and certain instances of unlawful imprisonment. Misdemeanor offenses do not separate between dangerous and non dangerous. They also incur minimal jail time.
Some kidnapping charges may not be considered violent and are considered class 6 felonies. Class 6 felonies can range from 4 months to 6 years in prison and in some cases are probation eligible. Custodial interference, when the alleged kidnapper is a parent and remains in state is a class 6 felony, as well as the crime of unlawful imprisonment.
Class 4 and class 5 felonies include sexual abuse, robbery, temporary kidnapping and negligent homicide. These offenses could result in prison time from 6 months to 16 years in jail, depending on whether they are considered dangerous or if it is a first offense.
Some Class 4, 5 and 6 felonies are upgraded to a class 3 or 2 depending on the circumstance. For example, a class 5 sexual abuse could become a class 3 if the victim is under the age of 15. Class 6 custodial interferences increase to a class 3 if the kidnapper is not a legal parent. Temporary kidnapping also increases to a class 2 or a class 3, if the victim is not voluntarily released, or if the victim is under 15 years old.
Homicide charges in Maricopa County range from class 4 to class 1. Homicide charges include negligent homicides, manslaughter, second degree murder and first degree murder. The amount of prison time that can occur from a homicide vary from 4 to life in prison. First degree murders can even result in the death penalty.
Felony level violent crimes cases are heard at Maricopa County superior courts, while the misdemeanor level cases are heard in justice courts. Superior courts can be located in Mesa, Surprise, and Phoenix. Justice courts can be found around the county in Surprise, Toileson, Buckeye, Mesa, Phoenix,Gilbert, Gila Bend, and Chandler.
If you have been charged with a violent crime in Gilbert, Tempe, Mesa, or anywhere in Maricopa County, give our office a call.