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What Does Stacking Charges in a Criminal Case Mean?

Stacking charges, or what can be perceived as “combining charges,” occurs when a prosecutor treats separate offenses as prior convictions to treat a defendant as a repeat offender even if he or she does not have any prior convictions. Repeat felony offenders face enhanced sentencing in Arizona as compared to first-time offenders for the same offenses.

If a prosecutor can prove that the offenses were committed at separate times, the defendant may be sentenced more harshly than others.

For example, if someone is charged with three burglaries on subsequent days and is prosecuted for them in a single trial, he or she may be treated as a repeat offender if the prosecutor is stacking charges and is able to prove all three criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Why Stacking Charges is a Real Problem

Prosecutors often use charge stacking as a way to convince defendants to accept plea offers that might otherwise be unfavorable. For example, a prosecutor might tell a defendant that he or she will ask for an enhanced sentence if the defendant takes the case against him or her to trial. This might happen even when it is unclear that the offenses would normally be considered separate.

Because the defendant might be frightened at the prospect of facing a potentially lengthy prison sentence, he or she may feel like there is no other choice than to accept the plea offer.

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Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorney Phoenix

As a top-rated criminal defense attorney on Avvo and Super Lawyers, Arja Shah is skilled in all areas of criminal law, with specific expertise in domestic violence law and DUI defense.

Arja Shah is a leading Criminal Defense Attorney serving Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, and surrounding areas. The Shah Law Firm has successfully defended hundreds of individuals facing serious charges from first offense DUI charges to attempted murder charges – all carrying potential life-altering punishments. Arja truly understands what is at stake when you’re charged with a crime and takes great pride in offering very personalized service to her clients. Arja h4ly believes that it’s not just about knowing the law, but also knowing how to comfort and lead people through difficult times. Contrary to other “law firm mills” out there, where the client can bounce around to other attorneys and paralegals, Arja gives her undivided attention to each and every one of her clients.

While Shah Law PLLC cannot guarantee an outcome, we can guarantee a reasonable fee and expertise from years of service. Below are some of the areas of criminal law that we are experienced in defending:

Regardless of what criminal charges you are facing, it’s important to hire a skilled Phoenix criminal defense attorney with a proven track record to help you to fight your case. To schedule a consultation with Shah Law Firm PLLC, call (602) 888-0369 or visit us at ArjaShahLaw.com. We serve all of Arizona, including clients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Goodyear, and Apache Junction.


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