This is my fifth post in my series on defending against violent crime charges in Phoenix. My last post discussed defending against criminal charges by claiming self-defense. Self-defense is a protected right under the law and is a very fact specific examination requiring an experienced criminal defense attorney’s review. Arizona’s statutory scheme allows for violent crime sentences to be enhanced under certain circumstances. This means that any punishment for a violent crime is increased by certain factors such as use of a weapon, prior convictions, gang-related behavior, and the causing of significant injuries. If you face such aggravated charges then it is crucial that you contact a lawyer immediately.
It may feel incredibly unfair to be punished twice for the same behavior. If, however, you have a prior conviction for a similar offense, or a prior commitment to prison, then your sentence on your current case can be increased due to the prior. This means that nothing intrinsic to your current case matters; the enhancement is based on prior conduct for which you have already been sentenced. This is true also if you are still on probation for the prior offense. You face time on the probationary offense in addition to any penalty on the new offense.
If the Maricopa County prosecutor alleges that you committed the new crime for the benefit of a street gang then there are penalty enhancements that may apply. Again, this means that you face the maximum penalty for the violent crime (e.g. aggravated assault) plus the penalty for committing the assault for the benefit of a street gang. Like all enhancements this may feel that you are being punished in multiple ways for the same offense. For this reason it is imperative you hire an experienced Phoenix violent crimes lawyer to defend you in these circumstances.
Violent crimes, such as aggravated assault, committed with the use of a weapon are punished more severely than those committed without. If in the course of an assault, battery, robbery (or any theft), carjacking, burglary, rape or other violent crime you are accused of utilizing a weapon, the penalty is increased, sometimes substantially. Similarly, if the result of any of these charges lead to serious or great bodily harm to another person, the penalty is significantly enhanced.
Enhancements are case specific and you will need your lawyer to review your criminal history in detail as well as the police reports, any audio or video recordings and conduct investigation to determine if the police can corroborate their claims. It is in your best interest to obtain an attorney experienced in violent crimes in the jurisdiction in which you are charged.
Contact my office today for a consultation with a qualified Phoenix defense attorney. I also handle cases in Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Gilbert as well as Pima County residents in Tucson.