Felons can no longer sue victims
Arizona voters passed Proposition 114, as expected, by an overwhelming 80% margin. The Arizona Constitution will be amended to abolish the right of aggressors to sue their victims if they are harmed in the process of committing a felony offense. There was little opposition, and no formal organized arguments “against” the measure prior to the election.
The constitution previously allowed for an unrestricted right of a person to sue another if they were harmed or injured by the person or property owner. However, this enabled some criminal offenders to sue their victims.
As a result of passage of Proposition 114, [SCR 1020] the Arizona Constitutional will be amended to the text of Article II, section 31 and Article XVIII, section 6. The amendments act as exceptions or exclusions to the existing rights of a person to file civil suit against another if they are harmed. The exception applies to persons fleeing or engaging in felony conduct.
The “victim” as defined, remains unchanged and includes a person against whom a felony criminal offense has been committed; spouse, parent, child, or other lawful representative, of the victim if they were killed, or incapacitated to sue on their own behalf.
Arizona Felony Defined
Under Arizona Law A.R.S. 13-105 (18) “Felony” is defined as an offense which sentencing that includes a term of incarceration in prison applies to a criminal offense conviction. These are generally serious, dangerous, violent, or aggravated crimes. Examples of felonies in Arizona include but are not limited to robbery, or armed robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, drug trafficking, other serious drug offenses, manslaughter, vehicular homicide, carjacking, kidnapping, use of a firearm or other deadly weapon while engaging in a crime, and other serious offenses.
Felony Arrest v. Conviction – Application of the New Law
An arrest is the beginning of the criminal justice process. An arrest is not a conviction, and it does not mean a person is guilty of a felony offense. If a suspect is arrested for a felony they have the right to hire a criminal defense attorney to defend their charges. In some cases, the charges are dismissed by the court and prosecution; or the defendant is acquitted or found “not guilty” of the felony offense by jury verdict. In that event, their civil right to sue an alleged victim if they were maliciously harmed would be preserved.
Criminal Defense Attorney Mesa AZ
If you were arrested for a felony, you should always consult a criminal defense lawyer before pleading guilty. In Arizona, all felonies expose a person to prison sentencing; loss of civil rights including rights to bear arms, vote, and right to sue if you were harmed; felony criminal record, and other harsh penalties. There may be defenses you are not aware of, that may lead to dismissal, reduction of charges from a felony to a misdemeanor, or mitigation of sentencing. It is best to retain proper legal counsel to represent you and defend your charges, in order to increase your chances of obtaining such favorable resolutions to criminal charges.
- Arizona Legislature – Proposition 114: Arizona Crime Victims Protection Act
- Arizona Department of State – Office of Secretary of State
- Arizona State Legislature – Definition of Felony
- Election Results November 6, 2012 – Proposition 114