Criminal Law in Arizona

Arizona is a state that many still link to the Wild West. Although the state might still have some Maverick ways, most of the laws in the Grand Canyon State are similar to those in the rest of the country.

Gun Control Laws

Arizona has some of the most lenient gun possession laws in the country. If you're 21 or older, have not been convicted of a crime in which you used a gun, aren't mentally instable, and aren't currently incarcerated, you can own a gun and carry either open or concealed. You are required to take a gun safety class, but there are no regulations about the type of class you must take. There is no waiting period to purchase a firearm.

Capital Punishment

Arizona has the death penalty. Anyone convicted after Nov. 23, 1992, is executed via lethal injection. Those convicted before that date can choose between lethal gas and lethal injection. The minimum age of a person that can receive the death penalty is 15. The death penalty can only be sought for charges of first-degree murder with mitigating factors. Mitigating factors include:

  • Victim is under 15 or over 70
  • Victim was a law enforcement officer or peace officer
  • The murder was particularly heinous or cruel
  • Murder for hire

Domestic Violence Protection Orders

Victims of domestic violence can seek protection from the courts through a protection order. Also referred to as restraining orders, there are two type of orders. Emergency Orders of Protection or EOPs and Permanent Orders of Protection. An Emergency Order of Protection is sought by a person who feels in imminent danger. The order lasts until the end of business of the following day after the order was granted. The purpose of the EOP is to allow the person to go to court and obtain a permanent restraining order. A permanent order can stay in effect for one year up to and including becoming permanent. Restraining orders can be sought by:

Indecent Exposure

The state of Arizona frowns upon adults exposing themselves to minors. For those adults who do commit this crime, exposing genitalia to a person over the age of 15 is a misdemeanor that carries the maximum penalty of six months in jail. However if the victim was under the age of 15, indecent exposure is a felony and can result in a two-year prison term.

DUI Laws

Arizona has some of the most severe DUI laws in the country. Most people think "drunk driving" when they hear DUI, but driving under the influence includes more than driving while intoxicated. A person who is driving while high or while taking medication as prescribed can be charges with DUI. Any impairment can result in charges if a driver's behavior behind the wheel is affected. An officer can charge a driver with DUI if it is determined that the driver is impaired to the slightest degree. "Slightest degree" means that a driver doesn't technically have to have a blood alcohol level over the legal limit to be charged with DUI. If the officer observes impaired behavior, he or she can charge a driver with DUI. The legal limit for drivers 21 and over is .08 percent. For a commercial driver, the legal limit is .04 percent. For those under 21, the state takes a zero tolerance stance against underage drinking and driving.

Anyone facing criminal charges in Arizona, like anywhere else in the country, has the right to mount a vigorous defense. Fighting charges is easier with a competent legal professional. These individuals can help a person navigate through the legal process and enable the person to be ready to defend him- or herself when the day in court arrives.

  • Spouses or former spouses
  • A partner in a dating relationship
  • Siblings, children and parents of the perpetrator

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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