Articles Posted in Probation Violations

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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.

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In a recent case before an Arizona appellate court, the defendant argued that the trial court unreasonably modified the terms of his probation. The court’s response to the defendant’s argument brings up important questions such as whether a defendant on probation has the right to an attorney and whether a probationer can waive the right to the attorney if he does so knowingly and voluntarily. Ultimately, the opinion serves as a reminder that retaining qualified counsel is highly important in criminal proceedings, no matter what stage of the criminal proceedings are in play.

Probation Modification

The first question before the court was whether the defendant had the right to notice and a hearing before the court modified his probation terms. Apparently, the defendant had failed to comply with the terms of his probation – he failed to make court-ordered payments to the victim of his theft offense, and he committed at least one misdemeanor while on probation. The court provided the defendant with a form, which told him his probation would be extended for five additional years. The defendant signed the form.

On appeal, however, the higher court concluded that this form was insufficient under the law. The defendant instead had a right to a formal hearing before signing the form to indicate he understood the change in his probation. The US and Arizona constitutions guarantee a defendant due process, and that due process had been violated here.

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“Probation is a privilege that cannot be denied under AMMA; Penalties & criminal defense for probation violations.”

Nearly 5 years after the passing of Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) the Arizona Supreme Court heard two cases involving denial of the privilege of qualified patients to use marijuana.

The Arizona Supreme Court held that a condition included in terms of their probation that denies Registered Qualified Patients the right to use medical marijuana is invalid and unenforceable.

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