Crime and the Holiday Season
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Though the holidays are meant to be a positive and uplifting experience, for many people they can be difficult and stressful. The challenges surrounding holiday seasons can lead to making unwise decisions or to hurting other people. Crimes spike during the holidays due to the stress or anxiety of feeling lonely, the frustration of not being able to provide for the family, or through triggers caused by negative memories. If you’ve found yourself on the other side of the law because of choices you’ve made, Coolidge Law in Gilbert Arizona is your criminal defense specialist, ready to work with you in resolving your case.
Common Holiday Crimes
Some of the most common crimes during the holidays include:
- Drunk Driving: With so many parties this time of year and emotions running high, drunk driving rates increase dramatically. Even if you feel able to drive after having a few drinks, you’re probably suffering from impaired judgement due to the effects of alcohol. Don’t drive: it’s not worth it! If you’re planning to drink at a party, leave your car keys at home, and plan to use a service like Uber or Lyft for transportation. The punishment of ten days in jail for drunk driving may not seem like a lot, but with aggravated circumstances you could be looking at a sentence of up to two years in prison. Or worse, your impaired driving could cause you or other drivers to become one of the many drunk-driving deaths that occur during the holidays.
- Identity Theft: Whether online or offline, identity theft is on the rise. Identity theft is usually committed for the purpose of obtaining money, but it may also be done to create a new life, or to gain illegal entry into the country. The punishment of identity theft is considered a Class 4 felony with 2.5 years in prison. Here is a link with suggested tips on protecting yourself and your identity.
- Rape and Sexual Assault: When drugs or alcohol are involved, people’s judgment can become impaired, and poor choices in behavior could be the result. Rape and sexual assault are defined as having sexual contact with someone without their consent. A person impaired by drugs or alcohol is not able to give true consent, and sexual contact with them may be considered rape or sexual assault. If there are aggravated circumstances, the sentence for these crimes in Arizona can be up to twenty-eight years in prison.
- Robbery: With more people out shopping or visiting and more cash on hand during the holidays, robbery increases. Sentencing for robbery in Arizona can be from one to twenty-eight years in prison, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime.
- Shoplifting: Shoplifting increases over the holidays, in part because of distracted workers, larger crowds of people, and a desire to provide the best gifts for friends and family. But be careful; once caught, the punishment could be up to six months in jail, with a $2,500 fine. And with aggravated circumstances, shoplifting could be a class 6 felony.
This holiday season there are many tempting opportunities to break the law. Choose thoughtfully and wisely and avoid hurting yourself, your family, or your community. In the event that you do find yourself in trouble with the law, contact Coolidge Law. We’ll give you knowledgeable counsel on the best defense for moving forward.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/14/2017) Jim Lukach (Flickr)