Everything You Need to Know About Probation in Arizona

If you are convicted of a crime in Arizona, probation may be part of your criminal sentence. Probation is generally available for defendants who are convicted of non-dangerous crimes. Learn more about what probation is, what to expect from a probationary period and how an attorney can help.

What Is Probation?

Probation is a potential part of a sentence for a criminal conviction in Arizona. It is a period of time where the defendant’s rights are restricted in a way that is determined on a case-by-case basis. In general, probation is used as an alternative to a jail or prison sentence for a defendant who has been convicted of a crime. If the defendant violates any terms of probation, he or she may be sent to jail instead.

The general requirements for a sentence that includes probation are listed in Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-901. This law gives the courts the right to suspend a jail sentence in lieu of probation if the convicted person is eligible. If so, the courts must place the person on supervised, unsupervised or intensive probation – as the court deems appropriate – without delay. If probation is granted, the courts will impose terms or conditions the offender must follow, or else risk the revocation of probation.

Types of Probation

The type of probation you are placed on as a criminal defendant in Arizona will determine the restrictions and requirements involved in your sentence. There are three main types of probation in Arizona:

  • Intensive. According to Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-913, intensive probation is an extremely strict probation period with many restrictions for the defendant and (in most cases) restitution for the victim. Intensive probation is always closely supervised, often with unannounced visits from the probation officer. Intensive probation is typically reserved for serious criminals and repeat offenders.
  • Supervised. Supervised probation is the most common type in Arizona. It is supervised by a probation officer, with a set schedule where the defendant must report to the officer. The defendant must also follow any other terms set by a judge for the probation period. Common conditions of supervised probation in Arizona include community service, fines, counseling, no drug or alcohol use, no weapons, and restitution.
  • Unsupervised. Unsupervised probation does not come with a probation officer or required check-ins. This is the most relaxed form of probation, although the defendant must still adhere to the terms of the probation agreement to avoid penalties for a violation. Unsupervised probation is typically reserved for minor-level crimes, such as misdemeanors.

Offenders under the age of 18 may also be placed on juvenile intensive probation supervision. This program is meant to divert juvenile criminal defendants using a highly structured and closely supervised probation program. It holds juveniles accountable without removing them from their homes.

How Long Does Probation Last?

The answer to this question depends on the case. Section 13-902 of the law lists guidelines for probation lengths, although it also states that probation can last for more or less time according to a judge’s discretion. The guidelines are for probation to last for 1 year, 2 years and 3 years for a class 3, 2 or 1 misdemeanor, respectively. A class 5 or 6 felony comes with a recommended 3 years of probation. This increases to 4, 5 and 7 years for a class 4, 3 or 2 felony, respectively. Defendants who are convicted of class 1 felonies in Arizona are not eligible for probation.

How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help?

If you are facing criminal charges in Arizona, contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and a defense strategy. An attorney may be able to argue for the reduction of your charges or a less strict type of probation. Contact The Law Offices of John Phebus today for a free case consultation.