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What do judges consider during sentencing for felony offenses?

If you are convicted of a felony offense in Maricopa County, you could face a wide range of penalties. The decision regarding the penalties you will face generally falls to the judge who oversaw your case. At The Baker Law Firm, LLC, people frequently ask us about how sentences are determined. In this post, then, we will discuss what factors are considered when deciding the type and severity of penalties you will face.

Under Arizona state law, there are a number of factors, which the court must consider when determining the sentence for felony convictions, such as murder, assault and robbery. These include the following:

  •        Whether serious physical harm was inflicted or threatened in the commission of the offense
  •        If property was damaged or taken, and the value of that property
  •        Whether there was an accomplice involved
  •        If the offense was committed in an especially cruel, depraved or heinous manner
  •        If the victim, or victim’s family as a result of his or her death, suffered emotional, financial or physical injury
  •        Whether the offense was committed out of malice toward the victim due to his or her race, religion, sex or other factors

Additionally, the judge may consider other factors relating to the commission of the offense, including whether you were wearing body armor at the time, if you ambushed the victim and whether any children were present when the offense was committed. Even if you have already served your time, the judge may also consider your prior criminal record when determining your sentence.

For more information about the long-term consequences of felony convictions in Arizona, please visit our criminal law overview page.

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