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Class 5 Felony

Arizona Class 5 felony offenses are the second least severe felony offenses. However, you could face as much as eight years in prison if you are convicted. We at Phoenix Criminal Attorney take all criminal charges seriously, and we are here to defend you so that you can possibly avoid the harsh consequences of a felony conviction.

Understanding Arizona’s Class 5 Felony Crimes

In Arizona, a Class 5 felony offense is classified as the second-least serious classification of a felony. A conviction carries fines and typically a sentence of 6 months to two and a half years in jail. However, the prison term might be increased to eight years when the crime was a violent act, if there had been any aggravating circumstances, or if the offender possesses a record of prior convictions.

Arizona has six categories of felonies:

  • Class 1 felony charges
  • Class 2 felony charges
  • Class 3 felony charges
  • Class 4 felony charges
  • Class 5 felony charges
  • Class 6 felony charges

The most serious crimes are classified under class 1. Murder in the first and second degrees are examples of a Class 1 felony. First-degree murder cases are punishable by the death sentence.

The least serious felonies are those classified under class 6. One scenario is possessing less than two pounds of cannabis. These offenses entail sentences of six months to one and a half years in jail.

Arizona class 5 charges are some of the less serious categories of crime. Many carry sentences ranging from six months to two years and six months in jail. But the following elements could lengthen a conviction's term of imprisonment:

  • The crime was a dangerous one.
  • The victim of the crime was a child below the age of 15
  • The criminal background of the defendant

Despite being less serious than many other felonies, a Class 5 felony is nevertheless more serious than a misdemeanor or a minor infraction. First-degree murder cases are punishable by the death sentence.

The least serious felonies are those classified under class 6. One scenario is possessing less than two pounds of cannabis. These offenses entail sentences of six months to one and a half years in jail.

Arizona class 5 charges are some of the less serious categories of crime. Many carry sentences ranging from six months to two years and six months in jail. But the following elements could lengthen a conviction's term of imprisonment:

  • The crime was a dangerous one
  • The victim of the crime was a child below the age of 15
  • The criminal background of the defendant

Despite being less serious than many other felonies, Class 5 felonies are nevertheless more serious than misdemeanors or petty offenses.

Arizona Felony Sentencing Guidelines

Felony charges are a class of offenses that are regarded more serious than infractions or misdemeanors and thereby incur harsher legal repercussions. Additionally, felonies frequently include prison penalties, unlike misdemeanor offenses, which only carry probationary or jail terms of a maximum of 6 months. As stated above, felonies are divided into 6 classes, with Class 1 felonies being the most serious while class 6 being the least serious.

Each category of felony charges has a range of sentences that includes:

  • Mitigated
  • Presumptive
  • Aggravated
  • Minimum
  • Maximum

Mitigated sentence

Mitigated prison sentences occur when there are extenuating considerations to evaluate when sentencing somebody for an offense that would result in a lesser prison term. Mitigating elements include the accused's age, whether they were subjected to extreme or substantial stress, whether their participation in the act was minimal, or whether the court considers the plaintiff's nature or history as an extenuating factor.

Aggravated sentence

The maximum jail term that can be imposed for any specific felony category is an aggravated sentence. Aggravated jail sentences require the presence of a minimum of two exacerbating elements. This might be the existence of accomplices, the employment or ownership of a lethal weapon, the fact that the victim passed away as a consequence of the accused's actions, if the accused wore protective gear, or if the accused laid in wait for his or her victim.

Presumptive sentence

This is seen as a "typical" jail or prison term. Presumptive convictions are used to ensure that no one is unfairly sentenced to a lengthier or harsher term of imprisonment based solely on their race or other prejudices. Usually, the presumptive term is used as the foundation for sentences, and aggravating or mitigating elements are used to either lengthen or reduce the term.

Some ranges just have three terms: the minimum sentence, presumptive sentence, and maximum sentence. Several exacerbating factors can enhance the prison sentence past the maximum sentence to an aggravated sentence. Numerous mitigating elements can decrease the term to a lessened period that is lesser than the base sentence.

It is essential to have a criminal defense lawyer present at this point in the sentencing proceedings.

Penalties for any Class 5 felony charge include extra fines of approximately $150,000, court fees, and prison sentences

The possible range of sentences will be determined by:

  • If the offense was a violent or non-violent one
  • If a minor was the victim of a violent crime
  • The criminal record of the accused
  • If a string of similar offenses led to the conviction

The sentencing scale could be widened due to the accused's criminal history. The number of previous felony charges an accused has is taken into account by Arizona courts. The most frequent of these charges include:

  • Class 2 felony charges or Class 3 felony charges within the ten years before the crime
  • Class 4, Class 5, or Class 6 felonies committed within the previous five years
  • Aggravated drunken driving (DUI)
  • Crimes with an obligatory prison sentence
  • Dangerous crimes committed against minors
  • Other violent crimes

Examples of Class 5 Felony Charges

Class 5 felonies in Arizona include:

  • Aggravated Domestic Violence

Aggravated Domestic Violence offense is charged as a class 5 felony. When a defendant has two previous misdemeanor charges for domestic violence during the past seven years, this new guilty verdict will be considered "aggravated" and may result in a sentence ranging from probationary terms with at least four months in county jail to up to a year in county jail, or at least six months to up to two and a half years in state prison.

If a defendant has three preceding counts of misdemeanor domestic violence that have happened in the past seven years, they could face probationary terms that carry at least eight months in county jail as well as a maximum of one year, or at least six months in state prison and up to two and a half years imprisonment.

If the defendant has one previous felony charge, the degree of sentencing is "imprisonment only," with at least one year and up to 3.75 years imprisonment. If a defendant has two previous felony charges, their "imprisonment only" sentence will be between 3 to 7.5 years imprisonment.

When the prosecution charges you with aggravated domestic violence, you're not obliged to accept every one of the counts. You can develop legal arguments to defend yourself against the allegations with the assistance of an attorney. Common legal arguments for this crime include:

  • False Accusation

It can be difficult for both the prosecution and the defendant to prove domestic abuse. Domestic abuse cases rely heavily on the plaintiff's testimony or statement against the alleged perpetrator. It's difficult for the prosecution to even establish what occurred. One partner could falsely accuse their spouse or former spouse to have an advantage during disputes over custody of children during divorce.

Other valid legal defenses include insufficient evidence or proving that you were acting in self-defense.

  • Obstruction of Justice

According to Arizona law, someone is guilty of obstructing justice when they intentionally try to block, delay or stop the authorities from receiving information about the execution of an offense, and they do this by bribing, using false statements, forgeries, coercion, or threats.

Note that three parties are necessary to commit a crime under this provision of the penal code: the accused, an officer (or other designated official), as well as a third party, who could be an informant or an eyewitness.

According to Arizona law, obstructing justice is a criminal offense. The majority of offenses against this act are classified under Class 5 felony charges and are penalized by a maximum of 2 years and 6 months in state prison or fines of up to $150,000. The maximum sentence for this felony is 4 years behind bars if it is categorized as a "dangerous crime."

Criminal defense attorneys use a variety of legal tactics to refute the allegations in such criminal proceedings.

  • Falsely Accused

Regrettably, false accusations of impeding justice happen frequently. The typical argument is that someone else perpetrated this offense to mask their misdeeds. The goal of a defense is for the defendant to demonstrate that he or she was falsely accused.

  • Misleading Statements

Law enforcement officials occasionally record false information when filing reports of this violation to support their case that a defendant committed an offense. Therefore, the defendant could raise the argument that the police manipulated or overlooked evidence.

  • Animal Cruelty

The Arizona law that details the offense of animal cruelty is found under Arizona Revised Statues 13-2910. When someone deliberately or carelessly harms an animal through inhumane treatment, negligence, cruelty, or desertion, they will be found guilty of this crime. A Class 5 felony conviction carrying a sentence of more than 2 years in Arizona state prison may be brought for breaking this legislation.

Arizona Revised Statutes 13-2910 specify 16 instances in which someone can violate this law. Among them are when someone acts negligently, deliberately, or intentionally by:

  • Cruelly abandoning or neglecting an animal
  • Failure to offer an animal the required medical care to keep the animal from hurting for an extended period
  • Causing an animal undue, severe physical harm

The prosecution may choose to pursue an infringement of this law as either a felony or a misdemeanor, based on the specifics of the defendant's animal cruelty charge. The prosecution can submit an allegation of animal cruelty as a:

  • Class 6 felony charge, which carries a maximum two-year prison sentence, or
  • Class 5 felony charge, which carries a maximum two-year and six-month prison sentence
  • Class 1 misdemeanor charge, with a maximum jail sentence of six months.

Criminal defense attorneys use a variety of legal tactics to assist clients who are contesting accusations of animal cruelty.

According to this law, the majority of animal cruelty offenses call for the perpetrator to have acted willfully or knowingly. According to these provisions, a defendant can only be charged with a violation if they intentionally injured an animal or did it knowing that it would suffer cruelty. Therefore, defense is for an accused to demonstrate that they didn't act with any of these goals in mind. It's possible, for instance, that the accused person accidentally hurt the animal.

Arizona law gives citizens the right to self-defense in the event of impending danger. These rules enable people to defend themselves from threats posed by both animals, for example, an aggressive Rottweiler, as well as other people.

As a result, a legitimate defense would be that the defendant killed or seriously injured an animal to defend:

  • Himself or herself
  • Someone else
  • Another animal

According to ARS 13-2910's text, there are some situations in which hurting an animal does not constitute animal cruelty. For instance, the law permits the killing of animals when done through activities such as hunting or fishing that are governed by the following:

  • Arizona Department of Agriculture
  • Arizona Game and Fish Department

To demonstrate their innocence, defendants can claim that their actions fell inside one of the statute's designated exceptions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions on Arizona felony charges.

What Distinguishes a Misdemeanor From a Felony?

Compared to felony convictions, misdemeanors are less serious crimes. These crimes are divided into Classes I, II, and III, with Class I being the most serious and Class III being the least serious. A misdemeanor carries a six-month jail term as punishment. Another of the main distinctions between a felony and a misdemeanor is a person is not subject to imprisonment even after 30 misdemeanor convictions. In the case of felony charges, prison time is an option.

Will Someone Who is Arrested For a Felony Face Felony Charges In Court?

Whenever someone is accused of a felony offense, they will very certainly be charged with a felony in court. There are a couple of various things that could occur, though. For instance, the prosecution could file a "County Attorney turndown" if they analyze the evidence in a case involving an allegation of aggravated assault and determine that the required elements of the crime may not have been met.

This would imply that they are essentially claiming that there isn't enough evidence to charge someone with aggravated assault, therefore they won't be charged with a felony. It will then be returned to the authority that conducted the arrest, but they might file a simple assault charge, which is pursued as a misdemeanor offense. This is merely among the most crucial justifications for working with a competent lawyer right away to defend your cause.

Can a Misdemeanor Charge Arrest be Increased to Felony Charges?

The answer is the same for this question too but in reverse. For instance, if a driver is stopped and detained for drunk driving and it is subsequently discovered that their license was revoked at the time, this could be an extra element that would elevate the charge from a misdemeanor DUI charge to a felony DUI charge. Thus, even after being detained for a misdemeanor charge, you could still face subsequent felony charges if new information or evidence comes to light.

Do Felonies and Misdemeanors Typically Have the Same Effects on a Criminal Record?

Misdemeanors do not have the same negative effects on a defendant's record as felonies do. A person who is convicted of a felony forfeits their rights to vote, their right to serve as a juror, and their ability to own guns. Misdemeanor charges are different in this regard.

Furthermore, for felony charges, background checks are performed for several reasons. This implies that prospective employers or landlords, for instance, are looking at felony convictions, which could make it difficult for you to get employment or accommodation in the future. Others might even search for infractions. However, possessing a felony charge on your records is considerably worse than if it was only a misdemeanor.

Why You Should Hire a Lawyer

If you have been accused of an Arizona felony charge, there are a lot of reasons why you should hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Some of them are as follows:

  • Having a felony conviction added to your criminal record affects your legal status
  • Arizona doesn't permit the sealing or expungement of records
  • You may lose your rights to vote as well as your ability to possess firearms
  • Several felony offenses will lead to exceptionally lengthy prison terms
  • You will need the assistance of an expert trial lawyer to assist you throughout the trial
  • Lawyers can use their ties with courts and prosecution to your advantage to secure a reasonable sentence for you
  • Lawyers could also help you reduce the severity of your possible punishment as well as the impact on your image

Find a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me

If you are facing Class 5 felony charges in Phoenix, AZ, we invite you to contact the Phoenix Criminal Attorney. We have extensive experience in criminal defense that can help you secure your freedom or have the charges against you lowered. Call us at 602-551-8092 to speak to one of our representatives.

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