Woman picking up trashThis is the next post in my series on whether Phoenix area defendants should accept a plea deal when charged with a misdemeanor. My last post discussed the need for defendants to be honest with themselves before pleading guilty under an agreement. It is important that one consider their chances of honoring an agreement’s terms or else they may be setting themselves up for failure. In this article I will discuss the serving of unsupervised probation after taking a guilty plea.

As I discussed in my post on the process of most Phoenix misdemeanor plea agreements, one pleads guilty and is sentenced under the terms of the agreement at the same hearing. The Judge will typically place the defendant on “unsupervised probation.” This is a period in which the defendant will be required to stay out of trouble and complete the requirements put in place by the Court. A return hearing date will be scheduled to ensure that the defendant completed all of the requirements. If the requirements were successfully completed then the Court will typically close the case and the defendant can move on with life.

If a defendant appears at the return hearing date, and failed to meet the Court’s obligations, then there are two possibilities. First, the Court may find that the Defendant failed to meet the terms and impose the sentence for the crime of which one was convicted. Alternatively, the Court may set a future Court date and tell the defendant to return by that date with the requirements completed; the willingness of the Court to grant such additional chances will largely depend on the crime for which one was convicted, the effort one has put into meeting the requirements, one’s criminal history, and the extent to which one has shown respect for the Court.

A third possibility is if one is arrested for a new offense while on unsupervised probation. In such instances the defendant will typically be found to have violated the terms of the agreement and the Court will impose the underlying sentence. This means that the defendant will be sentenced for the original offense and will face additional time under the new charge. For these reasons it is crucial that one stay out of trouble while serving unsupervised probation.

I assist defendants throughout the Phoenix area in misdemeanor cases. I also represent Maricopa County defendants in Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Gilbert and Pima County residents in Tucson. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation.