AZ House Bill 2318 Changes Sentencing for Crimes in Arizona
Arizona recently passed a House Bill designed to amend its sentencing system. House Bill 2318, which was signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey on March 24, 2021, concerns situations in which a person is convicted of one or more felony offenses that were consolidated at trial or do not count as historical prior felony convictions. For arrests that take place after March 24, 2021, consolidated felony cases will now be considered a single offense when it comes to sentencing purposes.
The signing of this bill is aimed at making criminal justice policy in the state of Arizona more responsible through sentencing reform. This bill takes away some sentencing discretion from judges. Governor Ducey says that the new bill supports those who have served their time. It gives prosecutors and judges greater flexibility in making sure that first-time offenders in Arizona don’t receive sentences that are disproportionately high in relation to the crimes they have committed.
What Does This Bill Mean for Me?
House Bill 2318 is a step in the right direction when it comes to reforming Arizona’s criminal justice policy and sentencing policies. However, much more still needs to be done. Arizona continues to be known as a state that is “tough on crime,” meaning that those who face minor offenses are in danger of receiving inordinately long sentences for their crimes, if convicted.
Since 1978, Arizona has been known as a “tough on crime” state, with mandatory prison terms for certain crimes. In 1993, the state also passed a “truth in sentencing” law, stating that criminals were mandated to serve at least 75 percent of a sentence before they would be eligible for release. This addition to the law caused all sorts of sentencing problems.
Many unfortunate persons in Arizona have been subjected to the mandatory minimum sentencing law, yet others who had committed more serious offenses ended up spending less time in prison than they do. The signing of House Bill 2318 is designed to help balance the sentencing system in Arizona and make it fairer.
Why Was This Bill Passed?
Arizona currently has over 37,700 people incarcerated in its prison system. The latest budget of the prison system in the state is over $1.2 billion per year. Saving money by creating lighter sentences might seem like a bad reason to reform criminal justice policy, but money motivates everything, including the justice system. The money that is saved from people serving shorter sentences for crimes in Arizona will hopefully be reinvested and put into making Arizona’s communities safer.
Under House Bill 2318, prosecutors in Arizona will no longer be able to stack multiple charges on an offender stemming from one event. Combining multiple separate offenses committed on separate occasions into a single trial, and using that to seek longer prison sentences for someone, labeling them as a repeat offender, will no longer be allowed in Arizona’s reformed justice system since this bill has been passed.
How Can I Make Sure That I’m Protected?
The best way to make sure that you are protected if you are accused of a crime in Arizona is to find optimal criminal representation. Contact our criminal defense attorneys today for a free, no obligation review of your case. We have convenient office locations throughout the state and can help you no matter what the crime, or crimes, you have been accused of. Whether you are facing a DUI offense, violent offense, weapons crime or drug crime, our law firm can help you. Our skilled and seasoned criminal defense attorneys will examine every aspect of your case and put your needs and concerns at the forefront when defending you. Call us today to see how we can help you.