In Arizona, criminal offenses are charged as felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the case circumstances. Misdemeanors are categorized into classes 1, 2, or 3, depending on the severity of your crime. A class two misdemeanor is neither the least severe nor the most severe. Crimes that could be charged as class 2 misdemeanors include reckless driving, verbal assault, criminal damage, second-degree trespass, and hazing, among others.
Any criminal conviction, including class 2 misdemeanors, can negatively affect your life. A conviction for a class two misdemeanor in Arizona can land you behind bars for up to four months for your first offense and six months for a repeat offender.
In addition to incarceration, you could face fines and probation. Navigating Arizona’s criminal law can be complicated, even when you face misdemeanor charges. If you or a loved one is arrested and charged with a class 2 misdemeanor, you will benefit from the expert legal insight we offer at Phoenix Criminal Attorney. We serve clients battling criminal charges in Phoenix, AZ, to secure a favorable case outcome.
Under Arizona law, reckless driving is operating a vehicle in a way that endangers the safety and well-being of other people. Prosecution for this offense requires the witness testimony of a law enforcement officer explaining your driving conduct. A first offense reckless driving under A.R.S. 28.693 is charged as a Class 2 misdemeanor. Before you face a conviction for reckless driving, the prosecution must prove that:
You knew or should have known the risk you presented to another person or property. You will be found guilty of reckless driving if the prosecution shows your knowledge of the risk you presented to other people.
You ignored the risk. Knowing the risk you present to others is insufficient to convict you under A.R.S. It must be clear that you ignored this risk by disregarding safety. Your recklessness is determined by comparing your actions with those of a reasonable person. Therefore, the prosecution must show that a reasonable person could not ignore the risk you presented.
The penalties for reckless driving as a class 2 misdemeanor include:
- A jail sentence of up to four months
- Fines not exceeding $750
- Up to two years of probation
- The requirement to complete up to 90 days of Traffic Survival School
With the guidance of a skilled lawyer, you can present defenses, including attacking the prosecutor’s testimony and creating a reasonable doubt in the case.
Second-degree Degree Assault
You commit a crime of assault anytime you cause another person to fear bodily harm. You can be arrested and charged with second-degree assault even when you do not cause harm to another person. In Arizona, assault is classified into simple assault and aggravated assault. Simple assault is a misdemeanor and occurs when your actions or words cause another person to feel unsafe.
If you are a first-time offender, the prosecution will file your assault charge as a second-degree misdemeanor. A conviction for this offense will be obtained when the prosecution proves your intentions to make another person fear for their life. Physical touch is unnecessary when providing your liability for this offense.
If you have a prior conviction for assault in the past two years, your offense will be charged as a class 1 misdemeanor. As a class two misdemeanor, an assault conviction is punishable by a minimum of four months in jail and $750 fines. Since there is no mandatory jail sentence for this offense, the court can sentence you to probation instead of jail.
Arizona law makes it a crime to engage in disorderly conduct. A conviction for disorderly conduct requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you acted intending to disturb the peace in the neighborhood where you engaged in these activities. Acts that constitute disorderly conduct include:
- Engaging in disruptive behavior or fighting in public
- Making unreasonable noises
- Acting with the intent to prevent a business or a transaction
- Using abusive and offensive language to provoke physical retaliation from another person
- Failure to obey a lawful order issued for public safety
- Reckless display or handling of dangerous weapons
The consequences of a conviction for disorderly conduct include incarceration, fines, and sometimes probation. If you are charged with disorderly conduct, you will need a knowledgeable attorney to help you:
- Gather evidence that can be used to build a defense against your charges.
- Preparing defense strategies for your case
- Negotiating your case with the prosecution for a reduced charge
- Protecting your constitutional rights
Contempt of Court
Under A.R.S. 12-861, content of court occurs when you willfully disobey a lawful order from the court by acting in a way that is forbidden or disrupts court proceedings. Your actions that disobey the court do not have to constitute a criminal offense for you to be arrested and charged with this crime. When establishing your guilt under this statute, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You knew of a valid court order. The court may make different orders, including a requirement to appear for court proceedings after bail or a citation issued for defendants not detained after an arrest. You must have known of the order's existence before you face a conviction for violating A.R.S. 12-861.
- You were capable of complying with the court order. Another factor that the prosecution must prove to the court is your ability to comply with the court order. This means that no unavoidable circumstances could prevent you from complying with the terms of the order.
- You failed to comply with the order. The last element that establishes your liability for violating A.R.S. 12-861 is that you violated the court order.
Common examples of contempt of court in Arizona include:
- Failure to appear for jury duty
- Disrespect towards the judge at court proceedings
- Failure to pay child support as ordered in family court
- Failure to appear in court after a release on bail
- Disrupting court proceedings
Contempt of the court could be direct or indirect. Direct contempt involves disrespecting the court during the proceedings, while indirect contempt involves failure to appear for court proceedings or refusal to testify. A conviction for contempt of the court as a misdemeanor is punishable by up to four months in jail for a first offense and six months for a second offense.
Because contempt of court varies in severity, you will require the guidance of a skilled lawyer to get you through the charges.
Violating a Fire Ban
Under A.R.S. 13-2913, it is unlawful for a person to enter and remain in a public building, violating a rule or order to evacuate the premises to control and protect them from fires. A violation of the fireman laws is a class two misdemeanor punishable by up to four months in jail, fines, and probation.
Leaving the Scene of an Accident
If you are involved in an accident with property damage, you must remain at the scene until the police arrive or provide your vehicle information to other involved parties. Leaving an accident scene after causing property damage is a class 2 misdemeanor. Before you face a conviction for this offense, the prosecution must prove that:
- You were driving a vehicle when you were involved in the accident.
- You caused damage to another person’s property.
- You left the accident scene before the police arrived without proving your information.
As a class 2 misdemeanor, leaving an accident scene is punishable by four months in jail and up to $750 in fines.
Failure to Comply with a Police Officer
You can be arrested and charged under A.R.S. 28-622 for failing to comply with a law enforcement officer. This occurs when you ignore the directions given by the officer. Two situations could result in charges for failure to comply, including:
- Misunderstanding or confusion. Sometimes, drivers could misunderstand orders from a traffic officer. This could irritate the officer and sometimes attract an arrest.
- Failure to respect the officer’s authority. Disrespecting an officer’s authority happens when you willfully disobey their orders.
Failure to comply with a law enforcement officer is a class 2 misdemeanor whose conviction results in a four-month jail sentence.
Giving a Fake Name to the Police
You commit a crime of false reporting when you provide a false name to a law enforcement officer. Under A.R.S. 13-2907, you must offer your name and other identification when a law enforcement officer calls you to do so. Offering false information could mislead the officers and obstruct justice.
Offering fake information to a law enforcement officer is a class two misdemeanor and can result in a jail sentence of up to four months after a conviction.
Attempted Class 1 Misdemeanor
Class-one misdemeanors are the most severe types of misdemeanor offenses. These crimes include criminal threats, resisting arrest, drunk driving, and criminal damage, among others. You will be arrested and convicted of these offenses by committing the criminal act. However, attempting these offenses attracts charges for a class 2 misdemeanor.
A.R.S. 13-2917 defines a public nuisance as any behavior that results in the following outcomes for the community:
- Injury to other people's health
- Unlawful obstruction of a free passage
- Obstruction to the free use of public property
Any person who engages in acts that cause public nuisance will be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor. Common acts of public nuisance could include shining bright lights on other people’s property, loud and irritating noises, and unsafe storage of dangerous products. A conviction for public nuisance can see you spend up to four months in jail.
Minor in Consumption
Arizona law is designed to protect the health of minors by prohibiting underage drinking. A.R.S. 4-244(40) makes it a crime for individuals under twenty-one years to possess or consume alcohol. As a class 2 misdemeanor, this offense is punishable by up to two years of misdemeanor probation, fines ranging from $250 to $750, and driver’s license suspension or delay.
Second-degree Degree Trespass
You commit a crime of second-degree trespass when you enter a non-residential building or fenced commercial property without consent from the owner. Although a fenced commercial building is understandable, what qualifies as a non-residential structure is broad. Acts like hoping through a fence could attract charges under this statute. There is no requirement for a no-trespassing sign when proving your liability.
Second-degree trespass is charged as a class 2 misdemeanor. A conviction for the offense will attract the following penalties:
- Up to four months in jail
- Fines of up to $750
This offense's elements must be clear beyond a reasonable doubt before a conviction. Therefore, your attorney can help you avoid a conviction by presenting evidence to convince the jury that you did not engage in the alleged criminal acts.
Probation for Class 2 Misdemeanors in Arizona
A conviction for a class 2 misdemeanor attracts different forms of penalties, including incarceration, fines, and probation. A probation sentence is an alternative to incarceration. If you are found guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor, you can spend part of your jail sentence on community service instead of going to jail.
If you are sentenced to misdemeanor probation, the court will not appoint a probation officer to monitor your progress. Instead, you must report to the court regularly. When imposing a probation sentence, the court will attach different conditions depending on the nature of your offense. Standard probation terms in this case include:
- Installation of an ignition interlock device for defendants convicted of reckless driving
- Consent for random alcohol testing
- Alcohol and drug treatment
- No-contact orders for offenses like assault
- Anger management and therapy management courses
- Travel restrictions
- Payment of victim restitution
- Avoid committing other crimes.
Probation for a class 2 misdemeanor lasts for up to two years. After following all your probation conditions, you can petition the court for an early probation termination. However, you must have paid all the court fines and restitution if they were ordered after your conviction.
If you are sentenced to probation, you must follow all probation terms. You risk a revocation if you are cited for a probation violation in Arizona. After a probation revocation, the court can impose harsher conditions for the remaining time on probation or impose your original jail sentence.
Collateral Consequences of a Conviction for a Class 2 Misdemeanor
Although a class 2 misdemeanor is not the most serious offense with which you could be charged, the consequences of a conviction for these offenses go beyond incarceration and fines. The collateral consequences of a conviction for a class 2 misdemeanor include:
- Permanent criminal record. After a conviction in Arizona, the conviction will remain on your record. These records are accessible to different institutions and employment agencies. A conviction that comes up in a background check can be used to discriminate against you.
- Loss of gun rights. After a class 2 misdemeanor conviction, the court may order you to surrender your firearms.
- Driver’s license suspension. If you are convicted of reckless driving in Arizona, the court may order a suspension of your driver’s license. Losing your license restricts your movements until you obtain a restricted driving license to school or work.
- Loss of a professional license. When your professional licensing board is notified of your conviction, they could impose harsh penalties, including a suspension of your license.
Other Misdemeanor Classes in Arizona
Since misdemeanors are classified into three categories, offenses that do not fall under class two will be charged as follows:
Class 1 Misdemeanors
A class-one misdemeanor is the most serious misdemeanor offense. These offenses include drunk driving, assault causing injuries, possession of marijuana, and sexual indecency. If you are convicted of a class-one misdemeanor in Arizona, you will be sentenced to a minimum of six months in jail and fines not exceeding $2500. Some factors that could impact your sentencing for this class of offenses are your criminal history and other circumstances.
Class 3 Misdemeanors
A class 3 misdemeanor is the least severe misdemeanor under Arizona law. The offenses that are lower than class-three misdemeanors are petty offenses. Some offenses under this category include excessive speeding, third-degree criminal trespass, and criminal nuisance and fireworks violations.
The maximum time you could spend in jail after a conviction for class three misdemeanors is thirty days. Additionally, the court could impose fines that do not exceed $500.
Find a Competent Criminal Defense Lawyer Near Me
Under Arizona law, class 2 misdemeanors include offenses like disorderly conduct, class 2 assault, contempt of court, and leaving an accident scene. You risk incarceration and fines if you are arrested and charged with these offenses. Additionally, your conviction can severely damage your personal and professional lives.
Understanding the offenses charged as class two misdemeanors and their potential consequences after a conviction is critical to protecting your future if you are arrested and charged with an offense. Fortunately, no arrests or charges for a class 2 misdemeanor will result in a conviction. With the guidance of a skilled lawyer, you can fight the charges and avoid the consequences of a conviction.
As you battle your charges in Phoenix, AZ, your choice of legal representation can make a significant difference between spending time in jail and walking away with a dismissed case. At Phoenix Criminal Attorney, we offer top-notch legal insight to secure a favorable case outcome. Call us at 602-551-8092 today to discuss your case.