Criminal Defense FAQ

Answers To Criminal Defense Questions

Being charged with a crime in Arizona can be a scary event. A skilled attorney can ease your anxiety and help your understanding of your rights, options and most likely outcomes. Here are common questions and answers about Arizona criminal defense.

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

There are generally three types of offenses: a petty offense, a misdemeanor and a felony.

  • A petty offense is only punishable by a fine in a city court and is less serious than a misdemeanor or felony. It is not typically considered a crime because no jail time can be served. Examples of a petty offense are small ticket item shoplifting, a parking ticket or having a small amount of marijuana in your home. Petty offenses can show up on a background check.
  • A misdemeanor is more serious than a petty offense. Misdemeanors are punishable by more substantial fines and can include up to 90 days in a local or county jail. Some examples of a misdemeanor are DUI, assault, leaving the scene of an accident or speeding tickets. Arizona has three types of misdemeanors: class 1, 2 or 3. No classification generally defaults to a 2.
  • A felony is the most serious charge and typically involves substantial fines and longer than a year prison sentences served in a federal correctional institution. Felonies can be divided by degree: first, second, third and fourth, or classes: A, B, C and D. First degree charges are the most serious or harmful. There are both violent and nonviolent felonies. Some examples of felonies include murder, rape, aggravated assault, arson and manslaughter. Certain types of fraud and financial crimes are also felonies.

Is juvenile court the same as regular court?

No. The purpose of juvenile court is threefold: to help the young person charged improve, to build a better community and provide restoration to the victim. The court uses terms such as incorrigible and delinquent in juvenile cases. The Arizona juvenile justice system serves ages 8 to 18. Once a child has turned 18 they are typically viewed by the court system as an adult. Every situation is different so it’s best to talk to an attorney who handles juvenile criminal defense cases to find out what steps to take in juvenile cases.

Is a DUI a crime?

Yes. Being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or drugged driving is a crime in Arizona. Never plead guilty without the counsel of an attorney skilled at DUI law and defense. If you are charged with DUI in Arizona you can be criminally charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the circumstances of your case.

What should I do if I get a restraining order taken out against me?

A restraining order will show up on background checks and can prevent you from getting certain jobs, having certain privileges or living in some places. That’s why you should always talk to a criminal defense attorney who works with domestic violence defense and restraining order defense.

What happens if I bring marijuana back from Nevada?

Unless you have a medical prescription (medical marijuana card) for it, you can be charged for having marijuana on you in Arizona. You can also be charged with drugged driving if you partake while in operation of a vehicle. The charges vary depending on the amount of marijuana. For example under 2 pounds is less serious than over 4 pounds. The circumstances will also affect the charges: if law enforcement contends that you were manufacturing or trafficking with paraphernalia, etc. It is not uncommon for college students to be charged with possession. Speak to an attorney about what happened and your options before you do anything else.

Have More Questions? Get Free Answers.

I am attorney William Parven, founder and principal attorney at Law Office of William J. Parven, PLLC. For over a decade I have fought for people to retain their rights and freedoms. If you are facing a criminal charge related to a DUI, drugs or theft, call me or email me for a free consultation. I will tell you what to expect and how I can help. Call 520-600-3379.