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Criminal Law Blog

Defining Violent Crimes and What to Do if You’ve Been Accused of One

January 27, 2023

A violent crime causes harm to a victim through assault, rape, sexual assault, robbery, and murder. If you have been accused of, convicted of, or charged with a violent crime, you are entitled to a criminal defense attorney. A defense attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the legal process and give you the best chance of a positive outcome. If you have been accused of a violent crime, look at how the courts define violent crime, and what to do next. 

How Arizona Courts Define Violent Crimes

Arizona defines a violent crime as any criminal act that results in death or physical injury, or any criminal use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. A violent crime can also be a threat of violence. You can be charged with a violent crime on top of other charges you may have; for example, if you are charged with trespassing or theft, your charges can be upgraded or enhanced if you had a weapon on you at the time you committed the crime.  

Sentencing Guidelines for Violent Crimes

Violent crimes carry harsh penalties, even for first time offenders. A first time felony charge for a dangerous offense carries a minimum sentence of 7 years in prison, and a maximum of 21 years in prison. Your sentence will increase if you have previous felony convictions or other aggravating factors.

Possible Outcomes After Being Charged with a Violent Crime

In addition to facing a minimum prison sentence of 7 years, being charged with a violent crime can affect your job, relationships with family and friends, education, and custody of your children. If you’re convicted of a violent crime, you may have trouble finding employment or housing after your release from prison. You will likely also be placed on probation after release, and you may have to pay fines, fees, and victim restitution. Felony charges need to be reported on employment, housing, financial aid, and loan applications. You will also face the possibility of harsher sentencing in the future if you’re arrested for any type of crime again.

What You Can Do if You’re Accused of a Violent Crime

If you’ve been accused of a violent crime, a criminal defense attorney can help you prepare the best defense possible and improve your chances in court. Your attorney can review and evaluate evidence, interview or depose witnesses, uncover mitigating circumstances, plan a strong legal defense, and prepare you for what to expect in court. Your defense attorney will also file petitions, requests, motions, and other court documents on your behalf to assist with your defense.
If you need a defense attorney after being accused of or charged with a violent crime in Arizona, Janet Altschuler can help. To set up a free consultation, contact us online or call us at (520) 247-1789.

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