Phoenix prosecutors treat dangerous offenses particularly seriously because these involve deadly weapons or serious physical injury. When defendants are convicted of dangerous offenses in Arizona, they can receive harsher punishments. If you are investigated for or charged with a dangerous offense, call Phoenix violent crime attorney James E. Novak to protect your legal rights. Mr. Novak uses insights gleaned from his former career as a prosecutor to mount a strong defense for the accused.Dangerous Offenses
Arizona Revised Statute section 13-105(13) defines a dangerous offense as one: (1) involving the use, threatening exhibition or discharge of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon or (2) the knowing or intentional infliction of serious physical injury. Dangerous instruments can include anything that is readily capable of causing serious physical injury or death under the circumstances in which it is being used or threatened to be used. Deadly weapons include firearms and anything else designed for lethal use. Serious physical injuries are those that generate a reasonable danger of death or that cause permanent and serious disfigurement or that cause loss or protracted impairment of the function of any limb or bodily organ, or that cause serious impairment of health.Examples of Dangerous Offenses
Depending on the surrounding circumstances, dangerous offenses may include murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, aggravated assault that results in serious bodily injury, dangerous crimes against children, sexual conduct with a child under age 15, child prostitution, arson of an occupied structure, armed robbery and burglary in the first degree, and kidnapping. For example, if you commit kidnapping using a handgun, you will be charged with a dangerous offense and face harsher penalties upon conviction.Sentencing
A different sentencing scheme is used for dangerous offenses under Arizona Revised Statute section 13-704. For a class 2 felony that is a dangerous offense, the prison term is 7 to 21 years, with a presumptive term of 10½ years. For a class 3 felony that is a dangerous offense, the prison term is 5 to 15 years with a presumptive term of 7½ years. For a class 4 felony that is a dangerous offense, the prison term is 4 to 8 years, with a presumptive term of 6 years. For a class 5 felony that is a dangerous offense, the prison term is 2 to 4 years, with a presumptive term of 3 years. For a class 6 felony that is a dangerous offense, the prison term is 1½ to 3 years, with a presumptive term of 2¼ years. Unlike with non-dangerous offenses, mitigating and aggravating factors will not be considered in imposing a sentence for a dangerous offense.
If you’re charged with the class 2 felony of armed robbery, you will face a 7 to 21 year sentence plus up to $150,000 in fines. For another example, if you are charged with assault with a deadly weapon, this is a class 3 felony that is a dangerous offense. You could face 5 to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can explain the potential range of sentences you may face if convicted.
The state will impose different, harsher terms if you are convicted of a dangerous offense and you have a historical prior felony conviction involving a dangerous offense. If you have two or more historical prior felony convictions involving dangerous offenses, even harsher terms are imposed. If, for example, you are convicted of a class 2 felony involving a dangerous offense and you have one historical prior felony conviction that is a class 1, 2 or 3 felony, you can face a maximum of 28 years in prison. If you’re convicted of a class 2 felony involving a dangerous offense and you have two or more historical prior felony convictions that are class 1, 2 or 3 felonies, you can face a maximum of 35 years.Defenses
Although it can be intimidating to be accused of a dangerous offense, you shouldn’t assume a conviction is a foregone conclusion. You may be able to raise reasonable doubt about one or more elements of the crime with which you were charged. There may be substantive defenses you can raise. For example, if you used the firearm to defend yourself against attack, you may be able to raise self-defense. Sometimes, the circumstances of the investigation make procedural or constitutional defenses appropriate.Consult a Seasoned Attorney in Phoenix
Dangerous offenses are taken quite seriously by prosecutors. You could face time in prison. It’s important to consult an experienced lawyer. Our principal James Novak has many years of experience representing those charged with violent crimes in and around Phoenix including in Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and Maricopa County. Call him at (480) 413-1499 or contact him through our online form.