You may have committed a crime in the past and paid your dues to the justice system, whether in the form of fines, jail time, and participation in programs. Once you have completed your obligations, you may think that the old offense essentially does not matter anymore. Technically, it does not matter under many circumstances. However, if you are arrested for the same offense the second time, then your old offense can certainly matter. Known as a “repeat offense” those who are charged and convicted under the offense face harsher punishments than they did the first time.
How is a Repeat Offense Relevant?
You are typically considered a first time offender if you have not previously been convicted of a crime. At the second and third instance, you will likely be classified as a repeat offender and fall into a different sentencing classification. As you can imagine, the system treats repeat offenders much more harshly than first time offenders. Other factors that can influence your sentence is the crime committed and any mitigating and aggravating factors.
Felony Offenses Not Committed on the Same Occasion
Another point to keep in mind when considering how a repeat offense will affect your sentencing if convicted is whether the offense was committed on the same occasion. Under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-703, if you performed multiple felony offenses on one occasion and you have no prior convictions of the same felonies, then you will likely be charged as a first time offender.
On the other hand, if you are an adult and have been convicted of a prior felony conviction and are convicted of the same felony the second time around, then the court will treat you as a category two repetitive offender. Being sentenced as a category two means that you are subject to higher punishment schemes.
For category three, the system is very similar. However, as you can imagine, the punishments are even higher. For example, under a category three, the minimum is 14 years for a felony, while under a category three felony it is 9.25 years.
Aggravating and Mitigating Factors
In Arizona, if you are convicted of a felony, whether it is a first, second, or third offense, you may also face aggravating and mitigating factor under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-701. During sentencing and when the court takes into account your prior felonies, the court will also consider mitigating factors such as your age, accepting responsibility for the offense, whether the crime involved a minor, and community support. Mitigating factors can lower your sentence, despite the second or third offense.
Alternatively, an aggravating factor is one that can increase your sentence. For example, in assessing aggravating factors, the court will look at the infliction or threatened infliction of harm, whether a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument was used, if damage to property occurred or if property was taken, if there was an accomplice, if the offense was committed in a depraved manner, and if the offense was committed for money. The final factor is past felony history. Therefore, while mitigating factors may certainly help you, if you have a prior felony, the court can increase your sentence. Of course, the crime, the circumstances of the crime, and the like are also taken into account.
To better understand how repeat offenders are treated under the law, it is best to look at a number of specific and common crimes.
Repeat Offense for Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Arizona is one of the toughest states in the country when it comes to driving under the influence. While first time offenders face anywhere between 24 hours and 10 days in jail, fines, a license suspension and additional consequences , repeat offenders have it much worse.
After the court has assessed that you meet the statutory requirements under Arizona Revised Statute 28-1381 for your second offense and after you are convicted of the crime, the punishment will rise to the level of a second offense or third offense, depending upon your circumstances. If you are convicted of a second offense, you face up to 90 days in jail, a higher base fine, and a potentially lengthier license suspension. Alternatively, for a third time offense, there is a minimum of 3 months in jail, an even steeper base fine, and longer license suspension.
Keep in mind that other factors can increase your sentencing. For example, if your blood alcohol content is at a concentration of 0.15 or higher while operating a vehicle, then you can be charged with an extreme DUI and your previous DUI will be taken into account during sentencing, thereby causing your charges to be higher.
Repeat Offense for Burglary
Another common crime that many individuals tend to repeat is burglary. Burglary is explained under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1508 and occurs when an individual knowingly possesses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument to commit a theft or any felony. If you are arrested for burglary the second time, rather than be charged under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1508, you will be charged under 13-1507.
For first time burglary charges you will face a prison term of a minimum of 7. On the other hand, a repeat offender will be charged with a higher punishment and may face up to 15 years in jail. Similar to a DUI, there are aggravating factors that can increase the sentencing after conviction.
Tyler Allen Law Firm
Facing a repeat offense is serious and as a result, it requires that you get the legal representation and support that you need from a defense attorney. The Tyler Allen Law Firm specializes in criminal law, including cases where the defendant is a repeat offender. Your attorney will assess your case, come up with a strategy, and defend you and your rights during the criminal proceeding. To get started with an attorney and ensure that you are protected in the system, fill out our contact form today.