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Arizona Criminal Law

Dealing with a Forfeiture in Arizona

Property Seized by Police as Forfeiture

As unfair as it may sound, the government can confiscate property under criminal forfeiture or civil forfeiture. Civil forfeiture is to seize property used in criminal activity, although charges have not been filed. When civil forfeiture is executed, the property owner loses all right, title and interest in the property to the government. Property that can be confiscated under these rules include:

  • Contraband
  • Proceeds gained as part of illegal activity
  • Tools or instruments used to commit crime

Civil forfeiture is based upon the basic establishment of probable cause that the property was used to commit a crime. When such an action is brought against you for your property, the time to contest the forfeiture is limited. Property may be seized through execution of a search warrant, whether there are criminal charges or convictions, or not.

Since 1985, over $7 billion dollars in property has been forfeited to the federal government. State governments also seize property for cases, with Arizona being frequently and heavily criticized in the media for having very aggressive forfeiture laws.

Having an experienced Arizona forfeiture attorney on your side will possibly enable you to gain the return of your property. The risk involved includes the possibility of having to pay attorney fees for the government, in addition to other costs, should you lose your case. (more…)

How to Post Bail at Maricopa County Jail in Phoenix, Arizona

Many people wonder how the bail bond process works at the Maricopa County Jail (also 4th Avenue Jail or Madison Street Jail) in Phoenix. To summarize, a judge uses a matrix form to determine how to best proceed in the matter of bail for an individual alleged offender. The offender’s matrix form takes individual court history into account and bail amount is determined according to the following factors:

  • Whether the person has failed to appear for a case in the past
  • Seriousness of the offense
  • Whether the individual is on probation
  • Other factors regarding personal character and risk toward re-appearing in court

The judge may determine that the individual can be released on his or her own recognizance. There may be a bond, or they may be non-bondable. Being non-bondable means they must remain in jail throughout their court process. Capital murder cases and those involving crimes against children are non-bondable. (more…)

When Does Possession of Marijuana Become Intent to Sell?

Possession of Marijuana Intent to Sell

Conviction of possession of marijuana or intent to sell charges lead to serious punishment in Arizona. Under state law, “marijuana” refers to any or all parts of the cannabis plant from which the resin has not been extracted. The plant may be growing, dead, or just in the form of unsterilized seeds capable of germination. Police and prosecutors work closely together to ensure as many convictions as possible are delivered on cases of possession or sale of these plants, with felony convictions resulting in jail time, prison, expensive fines and other penalties.


When Marijuana Possession Becomes Intent to Sell

Arizona Revised Statute, ARS 13-3405 states, “A person shall not knowingly possess or use marijuana” or “possess marijuana for sale.” But what makes possession of marijuana “intent to sell?” The statute defines possession of marijuana for sale as meeting three standards beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You knowingly possessed marijuana
  • The substance is confirmed as marijuana
  • The possession is for the purpose of sale

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What Are the Differences Between Jail and Prison in Arizona?

Jail vs Prison in Arizona

Many people use the terms “jail” and “prison” synonymously. But these two types of facilities have some distinct differences, as much as they have much in common.

When you are facing charges that may lead to prison time, or when you are put in jail for an offense, having the right lawyer on your side can mean the difference between staying locked up or gaining your freedom. At this critical time, you need an experienced criminal lawyer, such as the attorneys at the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor in Phoenix, Arizona.


Jails of Arizona

Jails are managed by local jurisdictions, cities and counties. These facilities are where people are held for the short term, usually while awaiting a hearing, sentencing, bail to be paid or other court process. When someone is suspected of committing a crime, he or she will be held in a jail as a detainee. Some occupants of city and county jails have been convicted of their crimes and serve a short sentence in the jail instead of being sent to a prison. (more…)

What are the Types of Arizona Felony Classes

Types of Arizona Felony Classes

Felony Class Types in Arizona

There are six levels of felony classes in Arizona. Each class has its own guidelines for punishment if convicted. When looking at sentencing, the law presumes that everyone will start at the presumptive sentence however, this sentence can be increased or decreased if mitigating or aggravating factors are found by the Judge or jury. The following sentencing ranges apply to a person with no prior felony convictions.

  • Class 1 – The only crime that falls under a Class 1 felony is murder. Murder charges are divided into two categories: First or Second Degree. First degree murder is punishable by the death penalty or by life in prison without parole. Second degree murder requires a minimum prison sentence of 10 years up to a maximum sentence of 25 years.
  • Class 2 – A Class 2 felony allows for a minimum sentence in the Department of Corrections of three years. This can be increased to up to 12.5 years for aggravated. Probation, with up to one year in jail, is also available.
  • Class 3 – Class 3 felonies allows for a minimum of two years in prison with an aggravated sentence of up to 8.75 years. Probation is also available.
  • Class 4– If sentenced to prison on a Class 4 felony, you face anywhere between 1 to 3.75 years. Again, probation is available.
  • Class 5 – A Class 5 felony provides for a minimum of six months in prison however, can be increased to up to 2.5 years. Probation is available.
  • Class 6 – Although a Class 6 felony, an example could be a DUI in Phoenix, also allows for a probation sentence, if sentenced to prison the range allows for anywhere between .33 – 2 years.

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