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When Are Defendants Sentenced in Arizona?

If you are facing criminal charges in Arizona, you probably have a lot of questions and that is only normal. One of the questions that come up a lot is, “If I plead guilty or if I am found guilty, when will I be sentenced?” In this article, we explain the sentencing process and how long it takes for a defendant to be sentenced after they have pled guilty or been found guilty in a court of law.

If you are the defendant and you were to plead guilty, or if you were found guilty, the judge on your case will set a date for you to be sentenced. If you are facing felony charges, sentencing would usually be held about 30 days after the plea is changed or the guilty verdict. Before you are sentenced, the court would request what is called a Pre-Sentencing Report on you from the Maricopa County Probation Department, but this is only if you have a felony case.

The Pre-Sentencing Report

What information is contained in the Pre-Sentencing Report? The report goes over the circumstances of your offenses, your life and criminal history, and any recommendations for a specific sentence. If there were any victims, the Probation Officer will contact them and may decide to submit a written statement for the judge to read. This statement will often include the victim’s request for victim restitution, which compensates the victim for their losses suffered as a direct result of the criminal act.

If the Deputy County Attorney or your defense lawyer has strong feelings about a particularly recommended sentence, the judge may hear testimony at a special sentencing hearing, especially if the testimony is relevant to the sentence. If there was a crime victim, he or she has the right to make a statement to the judge at the time that you are sentenced.

Note: If you had a victim, under Arizona law the judge is required to order that you pay restitution to your victim if he or she suffered any monetary loss as a direct result of the crime. However, restitution is not available for pain and suffering in criminal cases. How do restitution payments work? The defendant mails them to the Clerk of Court, who mails then directly to the crime victim.

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