Felony Probation in Arizona
Felony offenses are the most serious criminal offenses that an offender can commit, and they often come with harsh penalties for those who are convicted. However, in some cases, particularly in those in which a defendant is a first-time felony offender, a judge may order a sentence of probation rather than incarceration. Probation may also be used in conjunction with a shorter incarceration length.
Probation allows for an offender to be returned to their community and overseen by the court while following strict rules for a certain period of time. While probation may be unsupervised for minor misdemeanor offenders, it is typically either supervised or intensive for those who committed felonies.
Probation is not the same as parole, which is when offenders are released conditionally from prison. While parolees must also follow rules and fulfill various obligations, they are supervised by the Arizona Department of Corrections, not the court, and will have already served most of a lengthy prison sentence.
According to A.R.S. 13-902, unless a felony offender is terminated sooner, their probation may last for the following lengths of time:
Class 2 Felony
Class 3 Felony
Class 4 Felony
Class 5 Felony
|Class 6 Felony
Additionally, this statute allows for these additional probation lengths:
If the court has required, as a condition of probation, that the defendant make restitution for any economic loss related to the defendant’s offense and that condition has not been satisfied, the court at any time before the termination or expiration of probation may extend the period of felony probation for not more than five years.
Some offenders may be sentenced to lifetime probation. Crimes eligible for lifetime probation include:
- Sexual offenses.
- Sexual exploitation of children.
- Unlawful use of infectious biological substance or radiological agent.
- Child sex trafficking.
- Abuse of a child or vulnerable adult.
Supervised probation is, by far, the most common type of probation imposed. Supervised probation requires the offender to meet regularly with their probation officer to ensure they are adhering to the rules and requirements set for them by the court.
Intensive probation is the strictest form of probation in Arizona. As written in A.R.S. 13-913, intensive probation is highly structures, closely supervised, and emphasizes individualized intervention specific to the offender. It also requires the payment of restitution when applicable. Intensive probation doesn’t allow for the offender to do much outside of their normal obligations, such as work.
Pursuant to A.R.S. 13-901, one condition of probation is to require the offender to pay a monthly fee of at least $65. Probationers who are unable to pay may ask the court to reduce the amount of their monthly fees.
Common Rules of Probation
While the specific terms of every offender’s probation will be set by the judge on the case, many rules are common to every probation term. Commonly, offenders:
- May not leave Arizona without permission from the probation department.
- May not acquire a new credit card without permission from the court.
- May not live in certain places where other felons reside.
- May not contact friends or family with criminal records.
- May not commit additional crimes.
- May not change their address without prior written approval from the court.
- May not drink or use illegal drugs.
- May not use or possess weapons.
- May face restrictions on internet usage.
- May be randomly drug tested.
- May be required to serve community service.
- May be required to pay fines.
- May be required to follow a curfew.
- May be required to attend counseling or classes.
Additionally, anyone convicted on or after November 1st, 2006 of a dangerous offense against children must register as a level 3 sex offender and wear electronic or GPS monitoring for the duration of their probation term.
Crimes Ineligible for Probation
Most felony crimes committed by a first-time offender will be eligible for probation. However, particularly serious crimes, or those committed by repeat offenders, may not be eligible for probation. Offenses ineligible for probation include:
- Dangerous offenses.
- Many dangerous crimes against children.
- Many crimes involving criminal street gangs.
- Offenses committed following a prior felony conviction.
- Offenses committed while already on probation.
- Certain drug offenses, particularly those involving methamphetamine.
- Certain trafficking/smuggling crimes.
- Theft or fraud crimes involving over $100,000.
Early Termination from Probation
The court may order an offender’s term of probation to be terminated early, or the offender may file a petition for early termination. Those who have their probation terminated early are typically model citizens who have abided by all their probation rules, paid all their required fees and fines, served at least half of their probation sentence, and completed any required counseling or classes.
A probation violation will occur anytime an offender violates any term or rule of their probation sentence. Probation officers will schedule a probation violation hearing with the court for those who violate their terms. The violator will be issued a court summons or will be picked up by their probation officer. If the judge rules that a probation violation did occur, the offender may have additional, stricter terms added to their probation sentence, or they may even have their probation revoked and be incarcerated up the maximum prison range designated for their crime.
Arizona Probation Departments
Felony probation in Arizona is run by the adult probation department of the court in which the criminal case was heard. Some of the more major adult probation departments in the state include:
- Maricopa County Superior Court Adult Probation Department
- Mohave County Superior Court Probation
- Yavapai County Adult Probation
- Pinal County Superior Court Adult Probation
- Coconino County Adult Probation
RIDEOUT LAW GROUP
With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.
Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:
- charges that are reduced or dropped.
- top experts reviewing your case.
- aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
- fines or probation in lieu of jail time.
At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.
Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.