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Arizona Defendant Successfully Challenges Denial of Civil Rights, Highlighting the Importance of Thorough Review of Trial Record

In a recent case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant and the government agreed that the trial court should have granted the defendant certain rights that it unrightfully denied her. Both the defendant and the government indicated this error in their filings, and the appellate court reviewed the record to see if it, too, agreed that the trial court should have granted the defendant several rights that it denied her. The court ultimately granted the defendant’s request, giving her the right to own a firearm.

Overall, this case serves as a reminder that having thorough counsel for a criminal case can make all of the difference; by hiring an attorney that can catch mistakes like the one this defendant’s counsel caught, you can give yourself the best possible chance of retaining and restoring your freedoms that might otherwise be at risk.

Basis for the Appeal

The law in Arizona says that after a first-time felony offender finishes probation, he or she is entitled to the restoration of his or her civil rights. Here, the defendant was a first-time felony offender convicted of attempted aggravated assault and endangerment. She completed her required three years of probation. After the three years, the defend asked the court to restore her civil rights; the court granted one request by restoring her right to vote, which is traditionally taken away from incarcerated defendants.

The defendant’s second request regarding her civil rights was the right to own a firearm. The trial court denied this right to the defendant, which she promptly appealed.

The Court’s Decision

Both the government and the appellate court agreed with the defendant; the trial court was incorrect to deny her the right to own a firearm. The defendant’s offenses are not legally defined as “dangerous” or “serious” offenses, meaning there was no reason for the trial court to deny her request to have the right to firearms.

In this way, it was appropriate for the defendant’s counsel to thoroughly review the record and realize that the trial court only granted one of the two civil rights she requested. Although the defendant’s offenses might be considered “dangerous” in a more colloquial sense, the law does not define her offenses as “dangerous,” and there were therefore reasonable grounds to appeal the court’s ruling.

Do You Need a Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer to Stand by Your Side?

If you or a loved one is facing charges in Arizona, you need a thorough, experienced Phoenix criminal defense lawyer to help you fight your charges. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we offer client-centered representation that takes your individualized priorities into account. If you are searching for an attorney that has your best interest at heart, give the Law Office of James E. Novak a call today. We can be reached for a free and confidential consultation at 480-413-1499. You can also fill out our online “contact us” form to have a Phoenix criminal defense attorney to get back to you as soon as possible about your case.


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