Sentencing

A Defendant who is found guilty after trial or enters a plea of guilty faces a range of possible sentences for the crime. In misdemeanor cases, sentencing happens right after the verdict or plea unless there is reason to set off sentencing. In felony cases, the judge sets a sentencing date within about 30 days. At a sentencing hearing, both the defense and prosecution can present evidence to help the judge determine an appropriate sentence. Victims have the right to address the court on what they believe would be a proper sentence.

Arizona law provides for the death penalty in first-degree murder cases that are especially cruel, heinous or depraved. Life imprisonment is also an option for murder convictions. The severity of the crimes determines the length of the sentence. Sentences of one year or less are served in the county jail. Sentences of more than one year are served in a state Department of Corrections facility. For less severe cases, a Defendant may be sentenced to a term of probation. The court may impose conditions of probation that could include jail time, community service and counseling. Defendants may also be ordered to pay restitution to their victims.

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