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Class 4 Felony

Felonies are considered to be highly serious offenses. These offenses are classified into different groups depending on their seriousness. These groups are classes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 felonies. You should consider hiring an experienced defense attorney to help you fight any allegations. If you have been arrested or charged with a felony in Phoenix, AZ, you can contact the Phoenix Criminal Attorney for a free initial consultation.

What is a Class 4 Felony?

An Arizona class 4 felony has a medium level of seriousness compared to other felonies. It is a more serious offense when compared to a class 5 felony yet less serious compared to a class 3 felony. Arizona Class 4 felonies carry penalties and a minimum prison sentence of one year and a maximum of three years and nine months. However, aggravating conditions, a criminal history, and some particularly serious offenses can lengthen the prison term to as many as sixteen years. Fines could also be imposed if convicted. If it is a defendant's only felony offense, he or she could be subject to a probation term.

Arizona's Felony Sentencing Guidelines

For felony charges, Arizona employs determinate sentencing. This implies that when you receive a prison sentence (rather than life imprisonment), you will serve the sentence for a certain length of time that falls within the limit permitted by Arizona laws. Each category of felony crime has a minimum, a maximum, as well as "presumptive" sentencing that falls somewhere in between that limit.

When determining the sentencing, the court will begin with a presumptive sentence. The judge could thereafter, within the bounds of the law, enhance or lessen the presumptive sentencing if there's an exacerbating or mitigating factor. Extenuating factors include the premise that your involvement in an offense was minimal or that you had been under considerable duress during the period. Possible aggravating factors are:

  • You perpetrated the crime with the help of an accomplice
  • You were convicted of a felony sometime in the past ten years
  • Your victim was either disabled or over the age of 65
  • You carried out the act in a very heinous manner; or
  • You employed a taser or a stun gun during the commissioning of the crime

The court could impose sentencing that is lesser or more than the expected limits when there are at least 2 mitigating or aggravating factors in the incident. For each category of felonies, the legislation places restrictions on these "aggravated" or "mitigated" penalties.

Arizona does provide a process for seeking sentencing that is less than what the laws typically permit. You could be permitted to request a reduction of your term within 90 days once you've begun serving your jail term when the judge determines that the constitutionally mandated sentence is unreasonable in light of the specific facts of the case.

Arizona also mandates harsher penalties, with a wide range of permissible jail sentences, for serial offenders, violent or serious offenses, and several other categories of crimes.

What does an Arizona Class 4 Felony Entail?

Each jurisdiction offers a range of categories or degrees to classify the seriousness of an offense. Generally, a Class 1 felony classification is designated for the most extreme sorts of crimes, for example first or second-degree murder, which typically results in some of the most significant kinds of criminal consequences (for instance, a prison sentence).

As a result, it suggests that crimes classified as Class 4 felonies would be comparatively minor ones with less severe penalties.

In jurisdictions that use this classification, it's among the least serious sort of felony offenses that a person can be indicted for as well as one level beyond the most severe category of misdemeanor charges. 4th Degree offenses include improper sexual conduct with a child, criminal nuisance, vehicular assault, as well as theft of a vehicle.

Like other jurisdictions, Arizona's criminal code splits illegal conduct into three categories:

  • Misdemeanor offenses
  • Petty offenses
  • Felonies

All felonies carry harsher penalties than misdemeanors, while all misdemeanors carry harsher penalties than minor offenses. Felonies are then categorized into six classes, from class 1 to class 6 felonies.

The most serious felony crimes are placed in class 1. An example of a Class 1 felony includes first-degree murder. Certain convictions may result in a death sentence. The least serious felonies are those in class 6. One illustration is stealing property worth $1,000 to $2,000. Class 6 felony offenses are punishable by a six to eighteen-month jail term.

Class 4 felonies fall somewhere in between these two extremes. For non-violent class 4 offenses, the sentence ranges from one year to three years and nine months in jail term. Violent class 4 offenses, on the other hand, can result in lengthy prison sentences of sixteen years. For a crime to qualify as a violent one, it has to involve either:

  • Intentionally causing substantial bodily harm
  • Utilizing a lethal weapon or any other harmful weapon on somebody, utilizing it on them, or threatening them with it

Class 4 felony crimes perpetrated against a minor under 15 are regarded as violent crimes against children. Each of these has a unique set of sentencing options.

Class 4 Felony Examples

Generally speaking, felony charges often encompass a wide variety of illegal behaviors and acts. These could include a variety of white-collar offenses, including both nonviolent, for example, embezzlement, and violent ones. However, depending on the statutes of a given jurisdiction, different felony offenses will have different definitions and classifications.

In Arizona, examples of Class 4 non-violent felony offenses include:

  • Criminal damage
  • Forgery
  • Third-degree burglary
  • Tampering with a public document
  • Selling securities that aren't registered
  • Failure to obtain or renew registration as a sexual offender
  • An official misusing public funds,
  • Bribery
  • Perjury
  • Theft of three thousand to four thousand dollars

Examples of violent Class 4 felony crimes are as follows:

  • Driving recklessly when under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
  • Robbery
  • Weapon-related misconduct
  • Kidnapping

Penalties of a Class 4 Conviction

Those who are found guilty of a Class 4 crime will be sentenced to:

  • Fines that could amount to $150,000
  • Time behind bars

The prison sentence will be determined by whether this offense was classified as a:

  • A crime against a minor
  • A severe offense
  • A less serious crime

The perpetrator's criminal background could raise the potential penalty. If the sentence occurred for a series of repeat offenses, the penalties could also be altered. A repetitive crime is one of several offenses that were combined for prosecution. Each one of these offenses has a different sentencing range. There are 5 possible prison terms in the conviction range:

  • Maximum
  • Aggravated
  • Presumptive
  • Mitigated
  • Minimum

At the sentencing hearing, the courts would determine which terms to use depending on the aggravating or mitigating factors involved during the crime. These consist of:

  1. Background and personality of the defendant
  2. The worth of any confiscated property
  3. Whether the accused was fully aware of how bad his or her actions were
  4. The use of a partner or accomplice to carry out the crime
  5. The defendant's age
  6. Any significant physical injury sustained as a result of the crime

If several aggravating elements are confirmed at the hearing of the case, the court could issue a prison term that's longer than the mandated maximum penalty. If the court finds many mitigating factors, the sentence could be reduced to less than the mandated minimum term. It is vital to have a criminal defense attorney at this phase of the sentencing proceedings.

Sentencing Guidelines For Non-Violent Class 4 Felony

Class 4 felonies that aren't dangerous crimes have the following conviction ranges based on the defendant's history of prior felony convictions:

     1. No Prior Felony Convictions

A defendant with no prior criminal record is likely to face the following charges:

  • One year in prison for a mitigated sentence
  • A minimum sentence of one year and six months in prison
  • Two years and six months behind bars for a presumptive sentence
  • A maximum sentence of three years in prison
  • An aggravated sentence of three years and nine months in prison

      2. Prior Felony Conviction

If the accused has only one prior felony conviction on their record, they are likely to face the following charges:

  • Two years and three months in prison for a mitigated sentence
  • Minimum sentence of three years in prison
  • A presumptive sentence of four years and six months behind bars
  • Maximum sentence of six years in prison
  • An aggravated sentence of seven years and six months in prison

If, on the other hand, the defendant has two or more prior felony convictions on their record, they are likely to face the following charges:

  • Six years in prison as part of a mitigated sentence
  • A minimum penalty of eight years in prison
  • Ten years in prison as a presumptive sentence
  • Maximum sentence of twelve years in prison
  • Fifteen years behind bars as an aggravated sentence

Historical prior felony convictions comprise any of the following categories of criminal convictions:

  • Dangerous crimes
  • Dangerous offenses against minors
  • Crimes that are punishable by a mandatory prison term
  • Aggravated DUIs
  • Class 4, 5, or 6 felonies committed within five years of the crime
  • Class 2 or 3 felonies committed within ten years of the crime

Arizona's repetitive offenders are individuals who were over the age of 18, tried as adults, and found guilty of several Class 4 felony crimes in the same case. Even though the defendant's crimes didn't technically occur previously, Arizona law would still increase the punishments for subsequent convictions:

First Repeat Offense

The consequences for a first repetitive felony offense include the following possible sentences:

  • A mitigated sentence of one year in prison
  • The minimum sentence attracts one year and six months behind
  • A presumptive prison term of two years and six months
  • A maximum prison sentence of three years
  • An aggravated sentence of three years and nine months in prison

Second Repeat Offense

If the defendant has two prior convictions for an offense similar to the one under investigation, they could receive one of the following sentences:

  • A mitigated sentence of one year in prison
  • A minimum prison term of one year and six months
  • A presumptive prison term of two years and six months
  • A maximum prison term of three years
  • An aggravated sentence of three years and nine months in prison

Third and Subsequent Repeat Offense

If the offender has three or more prior convictions for a crime comparable to the one under trial, they could face one of the following potential sentences:

  • A mitigated prison term of two years and three months
  • A minimum sentence of three years of imprisonment
  • A presumptive prison sentence of four years and six months
  • A six-year maximum prison sentence
  • An aggravated prison sentence of seven years and six months

Sentencing Guidelines for Dangerous Class 4 Felony

A Class 4 felony conviction for a severe offense carries a longer prison sentence. These sentencing ranges don't include a mitigated or aggravated sentence. Instead, they include a minimum, presumptive, and maximum term:

     1. No Prior Felony Convictions

A defendant who has no prior criminal history is most likely to be charged with either:

  • A minimum sentence of four years in prison
  • Six years in prison for a presumptive sentence
  • A maximum prison sentence of eight years

     2. Prior Felony Convictions

If the defendant has only one past felony conviction on his or her record, then he or she is likely to face the following charges:

  • A minimum prison term of eight years
  • A presumptive sentence of ten years behind bars
  • A maximum prison term of twelve years

However, if the accused has two or more prior felony convictions, he or she will probably be charged with the following:

  • A minimum prison sentence of twelve years
  • A presumptive prison term of 14 years
  • Maximum sentence of sixteen years in prison

What Distinguishes a Misdemeanor From a Felony?

The two basic distinctions between felonies and minor offenses are as follows. First, felonies often include more serious offenses, which almost always involve acts of violence. The other is that an accused who is found guilty of a felony crime often faces a more severe penalty. In other terms, the second key distinction between the two groups of offenses is the severity of the sentencing.

The severity of crimes that are classified as felonies is usually greater than that of misdemeanors. Typically, proving an accused committed a felony requires more evidence of an accused's mental state of mind than proving a defendant perpetrated the misdemeanor. Additionally, felony offenses frequently result in victims suffering more severe injuries, as well as more extensive property destruction and harm to the community as a whole.

As a result, felony charges frequently lead to prison terms of a minimum of one year. In addition, a defendant found guilty of a felony could be required to pay greater criminal penalties than a person found guilty of a misdemeanor offense.

Contrarily, misdemeanor offenses typically carry relatively smaller criminal fines and maximum one-year jail imprisonment or prison term. Additionally, the majority of misdemeanor crimes are victimless offenses like traffic tickets, public disorder, or acting in contempt of court.

What Is The Criminal Statute Of Limitations?

In Arizona, the length of the statute of limitations varies according to the type of crime that is being alleged. For a Class 4 felony, the legal statute of limitations is usually 7 years, except if the charge was for a serious criminal case.

The following are examples of class 4 felony crimes that are considered serious offenses under the statute of limitations:

  • Improper use of public funds, and
  • Fabrication of official documents

For certain serious criminal offenses, prosecutors may pursue felony allegations at any time after the crime was perpetrated. Every other Class 4 felony must be charged within 7 years. Your criminal defense lawyer may bring up the statute of limitations as an argument if they fail to submit the criminal allegations before the deadline has passed. The allegations will be dropped if you are successful in court.

What Does a Class 4 Felony Mean in Court and How Serious Is It?

Ultimately, a Class 4 crime is still regarded as a felony, and when an accused is found guilty, there could be severe legal repercussions. Most Class 4 felony charges get a one- to a 3-year jail sentence, even though sentencing standards differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Based on the state, they could also involve fines of approximately $10,000 or more.

Those found guilty of Class 4 felonies must not only mark the offense as a conviction on their rap sheet, but they must additionally mark the box next to the phrase "convicted felon" upon serving their sentence.

It could have a devastating impact on someone's ability to get good housing, find employment after serving their sentence, or exercise their right to vote. This could also have an impact on a person's standing in society and their connections to friends and family.

Additionally, if someone is charged with a Class 4 felony and subsequently accused of committing an offense, they will face penalties consistent with a Class 1 felony. This is accurate even though the subsequent felony they perpetrated is simply a Class 4 offense. That's because they'll now be regarded as habitual felons, and habitual felons are subject to more severe punishments.

Find a Phoenix Criminal Lawyer Near Me

The consequences of a class 4 felony conviction could be severe and long-lasting. A conviction would make it impossible for you to lease an apartment, get a job, or even own a firearm in addition to the prolonged prison terms. To defend yourself against the accusations, you should get legal assistance from a professional criminal defense lawyer.

Our attorneys at Phoenix Criminal Attorney are available to help you. If you are arrested for a class 4 felony offense in Phoenix, Arizona, do not hesitate to contact us at 602-551-8092, and we'll get to work on your case right away.

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