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Felony vs. Misdemeanor Charges in Scottsdale, AZ

“Good Scottsdale DUI lawyers can sometimes help prevent your misdemeanor charges from being raised to a felony; in some cases, they can help prevent criminal charges from being brought against you at all.”

Scottsdale DUI and Criminal Charges

If you were arrested for a DUI or criminal offense, but aren’t sure if they are misdemeanor or felony charges, you should contact a Scottsdale criminal lawyer as soon as possible.  You can discuss the events that have taken place; documents received; and your concerns. They will be able to provide you with insight concerning your charges and potential defense options.

Felony and Misdemeanor Charges in AZ – Main Differences

The main difference between AZ felonies and misdemeanors evolve around the nature and seriousness of the charge and the nature and severity of the penalties:

  • Arizona Felony convictions can carry prison terms of 12 months or more.  Penalties can include exorbitant fines, fees, and restitution to victims of the offense. Some offenses of charge that are brought as felonies include but are not limited to: Aggravated DUI; theft over a certain dollar value amount; drug possession over a certain threshold amount; burglary; robbery; armed robbery; illegal drug sales; possession of drugs with intent to sell; crimes against victims, and other serious offenses. Violent and serious felonies may carry lengthy prison sentences of 25 years or life in prison.  In Arizona, a homicide conviction may result in the death penalty.
  • Misdemeanor convictions in Arizona carry maximum jail sentences of one year terms or less.  Other penalties can include probation; alcohol or substance abuse counseling; ignition interlock device; probation, fines, fees and other punishments. Generally, misdemeanor convictions result in less severe penalties than felonies.  Some offenses classified as misdemeanors include non-aggravated DUI, possession of Marijuana and/or drug paraphernalia.

AZ Criminal Court Jurisdiction for Felony vs. Misdemeanor Charges

The AZ Criminal Court you are required to appear can often reveal if you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor.  All AZ Criminal Courts have jurisdictional guidelines that allow them authority over hearing felonies or misdemeanors in their geographic areas. Below are guidelines for Arizona court jurisdiction for hearing felonies and misdemeanors.

1)      Felony cases are heard in Arizona Superior Court. Although AZ Superior Court is considered one entity, there are different court locations serving the valley in Arizona.

2)      Misdemeanor cases are heard in lower courts such as City Courts, Municipal Courts, and Justice Courts.

3)      Felony charges may sometimes conduct preliminary hearings in the lower courts – (City Court, Justice Court, and Municipal Court).

4)      A person can be charged initially with a misdemeanor; but later those same charges can be elevated to felony charges based on new evidence or completion of police investigation.

5)      The Court in where the defendant needs to appear will be on the Citation, Complaint or documents they received after arrest, or other means of the Complaint delivery.

Scottsdale Misdemeanor and Felony Lawyer

You shouldn’t disregard DUI or criminal charges whether or not they are felonies or misdemeanors. If you fail to appear for your court date and time, the presiding judge may issue a warrant for your arrest under the authority of Arizona Criminal Code A.R.S. 13-2506 & A.R.S. 13-2507. In this event, the arrest warrant will remain in effect indefinitely, until you come forth or are arrested. If you have an outstanding warrant, or face DUI or criminal charges, you should contact a DUI or criminal lawyer who defends charges in Scottsdale. If retained, they will help resolve your matter in your defense. They will protect your rights throughout the various criminal case stages, and defend you’re the charges on your behalf. Retention of a private practice experienced criminal lawyer increases your chance of getting a good outcome in your case.

Every case is different and holds its own set of circumstances, but some favorable outcomes may include getting charges dropped; getting a reduction in the number of charges; lowering charges from a felony to a misdemeanor; or getting a lower (mitigated) sentencing if a conviction is unavoidable.

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Law Office of James Novak

4500 S. Lakeshore Drive

Tempe AZ 85282

(480) 413-1499