Arizona Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Guidelines
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When a crime is committed and the perpetrator is convicted they’ll face a range of consequences, depending on the severity and nature of the crime. In the next few blog posts, Coolidge Law Firm (serving Phoenix, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert), will cover mitigated sentences (the least severe) all the way to aggravated sentences (the most severe). In this post, however, we’ll discuss a judge’s reference point for determining how to punish a certain crime: the Arizona mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines.
When Did Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Begin?
Mandatory minimum sentencing was first established in Connecticut in 1969. In general, state minimum sentencing guidelines are implemented to offer a fair and unbiased baseline for judges when deciding how to punish a criminal for the wrongs they’ve committed. The overall national goal of mandatory minimum sentencing was to deter criminal activity and crime rates. Whether or not they have succeeded is another discussion.
What Are the Arizona Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Guidelines?
As you would suspect, punishment for a crime directly correlates to the severity and nature of the crime. A misdemeanor will carry a less severe sentence than a felony. And a first conviction will be treated with more generosity than a second, third, and so on. When discussing mandatory minimum sentencing we are mostly concerned with felony convictions. Below are the minimums ranging from Class 6 felonies (the least severe) up to Class 2 felonies (the second most severe). (Class 1 felonies are reserved for first and second-degree murder and are punishable with a life sentence or the death penalty.)
- First Time Felony Offense: 6 months to 4 years in prison.
- Repeat non-dangerous felony offenses – Category 1 (convicted of two felony offenses on two separate occasions): Same as a first time offense.
- Repeat non-dangerous felony offenses – Category 2 (convicted of three felony offenses on separate occasions): 1 to 6 years in prison.
- Repeat non-dangerous felony offenses – Category 3 (convicted of a felony with two or more felony convictions on record): 3 to 14 years in prison.
Choose An Experienced Certified Criminal Law Specialist
As mentioned before, these mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines are a baseline or starting point. Often judges will increase the sentence or lessen the sentence, depending on whether mitigating and aggravating circumstances were present. If you’ve been charged with a felony in Arizona, there’s no time to waste in securing exceptional legal counsel. Todd Coolidge of Coolidge Law Firm in Chandler Arizona is a certified criminal law specialist with experience and a great track record to back him. Contact us today for your free consultation!