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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27423
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I am facing an assault class 1 misdemeanor,, am I looking at

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I am facing an assault class 1 misdemeanor,, am I looking at jail time,,,, would it benefit me to take an anger management class prior to appearing,,, am willing to plead guilty and move on
Hi Jacustomer,

I take it that this is your first contact with the law or you'd have been arrested rather than receive a summons. The crime itself carries a 6 month maximum possible jail sentence and/or a fine of up to $2,500. The police apparently feel that you're not a threat to society, so the possibility of your having to do jail is remote if you show up to court when scheduled and follow the dictates of the judge. However, as this offense is a misdemeanor, "pleading guilty and moving" on will give you a criminal record for a violent misdemeanor to hound you for possibly the rest of your life.

The court may propose anger management, but they generally want a specific program because those programs report to the court and the court knows that a defendant taking classes cannot cut any corners and get by with that. So I wouldn't do that yet.

What you should do is to get a lawyer. You are probably looking nothing worse than probation, a fine and anger management classes, but Arizona does have diversion programs, and some assaults would make you eligible to participate in one and come out of this mess with a clean record. A diversion disposition is a special form of supervision whereby you also pay fines, do community service, take classes/counseling as indicated and are monitored by the department of probation. If you complete all of your requirements successfully, at the end the case is dismissed so that you don't have a conviction on your record.

I don't know the facts of your case, and there may be other options, but you don't want to/have to necessarily settle for a criminal conviction. If you can afford a lawyer have one with you on your first court date. If not, plead not guilty in order to keep your rights open and ask the judge to appoint you a public defender.
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