If you decide to plead guilty or are convicted of a crime in Arizona, you could face harsh punishments. Being placed on probation would be a better option than a jail or prison sentence. With an experienced criminal defense attorney defending you, you may be able to work out a plea agreement that includes being sentenced to probation if you hope to avoid a jail or prison sentence in your criminal case.
Understand What Probation Is in Arizona
Probation is an alternative sentencing option that allows an individual to remain in the community while they serve their sentence. It is also referred to as community supervision in Arizona. During the term of their probation, they must follow the rules set by the judge. There are three types of community supervision in Arizona:
- Unsupervised probation. If a person is placed on unsupervised probation, they must follow specific rules but do not need to be monitored by a probation officer. Unsupervised probation is only imposed for minor misdemeanor offenses.
- Supervised probation. The most common type of probation is supervised probation. The defendant must meet with a probation officer regularly who would monitor whether they are following the rules of their community supervision. The individual may also be required to complete community service, submit to drug and alcohol testing, and attend counseling sessions.
- Intensive probation. Under ARS §13-913, intensive probation is defined as a highly structured and supervised type of community supervision. It is the strictest type of probation. An individual placed on intensive probation would be required to pay restitution to the victim if applicable.
What Crimes Are Ineligible for Probation?
Many nonviolent first offenses are eligible for probation. However, some crimes are ineligible for community supervision. They include:
- Dangerous offenses that involve the use, discharge, or threatening display of a dangerous weapon or instrument or that can inflict serious physical injury on the victim
- Dangerous crimes against children
- A felony offense committed while the person was on probation
- A felony crime committed to promote, further, or assist a street gang or human trafficking
- Certain theft offenses involving more than $100,000
- Crimes involving fraud to obtain over $100,000 of opioids or involving the manufacturing, distribution, or marketing of opioids
- Possession of a certain amount of drugs that indicates an intent to engage in drug trafficking
- Crimes involving the sale of drugs in a school zone
- Offenses involving the manufacture of dangerous drugs or involving methamphetamine
- Offenses committed by an individual who has been convicted of another felony
We Can Help Guide You Through the Rules a Person Must Follow While on Probation
Judges in Arizona have the discretion to set the terms a defendant must follow while on community supervision. The rules will depend on the crime they were convicted of and their circumstances. Common rules that are imposed include:
- Not committing another crime
- Not associating with specific individuals
- Meeting regularly with a probation officer
- Complying with curfews
- Not consuming alcohol or drugs
- Undergoing random drug and alcohol testing
- Paying restitution to the victim
- Performing a specified number of hours of community service
- Consenting to random searches by the police
- Complying with a protective order if they were convicted of domestic violence
- Following the terms of house arrest
- Having a driver’s license suspended if the offense was DUI
- Wearing an electronic bracelet or another monitoring device
- Surrendering firearms
- Completing an alcohol or drug treatment program
- Undergoing counseling
Gain Freedom from Incarceration by Serving Probation
While the judge has discretion in determining the length of probation, how long a person must remain on probation will depend on the crime they were convicted of or pled guilty to. Common terms of community supervision include:
- Class 2 felony – Seven years
- Class 3 felony – Five years
- Class 4 felony – Four years
- Class 5 and 6 felony – Three years
- Class 1 misdemeanor – Three years
- Class 2 misdemeanor – Four years
A judge can sentence a defendant to lifetime probation for some crimes, such as sex offenses, sexual exploitation of children, child abuse, and failing to register as a sex offender. However, it may be possible to ask that a felony probation period be terminated early.
Are you facing criminal charges in Flagstaff or Northern Arizona? Do you want to petition the court to terminate your probation early? Order our free book, Accused of a Crime in Arizona: What Happens Next Is Up to You, to learn what to expect in your criminal case. Then call our Flagstaff office at 928-226-0165 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you.