It has become common in Arizona for prosecuting agencies to “overcharge” cases. This is particularly true in felony cases. That is, a person may actually have committed an offense. However, the prosecuting agency decides to bring additional and more serious charges than the person deserves. The theory being the greater number of charges, and the more serious the charges, the more likely the person will just plead guilty to avoid a terrible outcome.
While not all prosecutors are guilty of this behavior, the steady trend of “overcharging” cases has been rising over the years. Being “overcharged” is just another way of falsely accusing someone of crime. For example, when someone possesses drugs for personal use, that is a charge that usually results in a manner that allows someone to go on with there lives. However if the case is “overcharged”, accusing him of possessing the drugs for sale (when there is no evidence or purely speculative evidence), then the person may be facing a prison sentence. The temptation for the person in this case, is to yield to pressure of the more serious charge, and take any plea agreement the prosecutor offers. This is true even if the plea deal is not in the person’s interest. This situation occurs everyday and the person facing the charges may have no idea they have been “overcharged.”
Sometimes justice is simply battling the make sure the punishment fits the person’s true behavior.