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Misdemeanor Sentencing

Arizona law defines a misdemeanor as a more serious offense than a petty offense but less severe than a felony. Some of the most common Arizona misdemeanors include DUI, petty theft, and possession of drugs like marijuana. If you’re convicted of a misdemeanor, the court can either sentence you to jail, fine you, or send you to probation.

In Arizona, a misdemeanor conviction also has other penalties. The law classifies misdemeanor charges into three. The first and most severe misdemeanor charge is called a class 1 misdemeanor, the second classification is a class 2 misdemeanor and the last and least severe category is the class 3 misdemeanor. Each class has different sentencing depending on the severity of the conviction.

If you or your loved one is facing a misdemeanor charge in Phoenix, Arizona, it's critical to seek the services of highly experienced criminal lawyers. At Phoenix Criminal Attorney, we have highly experienced criminal lawyers who will represent you passionately to ensure you receive a favorable outcome.

Understanding More About Arizona Misdemeanor Sentencing

Misdemeanor sentencing is the process of determining the punishment for a misdemeanor crime. In the United States, the sentencing process may take place in different ways. The most common method of sentencing is to give the defendant a fine and a jail sentence. However, this is not always the case, and the sentencing process can vary depending on the case.

The offense you commit in Arizona can either be classified as a felony or a misdemeanor. Felonies are significant offenses that include manslaughter, rape, arson, among other similar serious offenses. On the other hand, a misdemeanor is a less severe offense. Some offenses classified as a misdemeanor in Arizona include petty theft, minor assaults, vandalism, menacing, and other similar minor crimes. 

One of the most critical differences between a felony and misdemeanor sentencing is the maximum sentence that the court can impose. As earlier stated, felonies are usually much more serious offenses than misdemeanors. As a result, they can carry more severe penalties.

Classification Of Arizona Misdemeanor Charges

Under Arizona law, misdemeanors are classified under three classes. Class 1 misdemeanors are the most serious. Class two are less severe than class 1, while class 3 are the least severe misdemeanors.

Understanding Class 1 Misdemeanors In Arizona 

Class 1 misdemeanors are the most serious of the misdemeanor classifications in Arizona. They are defined as offenses punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of $2,500, or both. The most common misdemeanor crimes are driving under the influence, driving on a suspended driver’s license, stealing property valued at less than $1,000, shoplifting and other similar crimes.

Penalties For Class One Misdemeanor In Arizona

Class 1 misdemeanors in Arizona carry various penalties. The penalties for a class one misdemeanor are considerably more severe than class two misdemeanor penalties. The fine and jail time will depend on your criminal history. If you have a prior felony conviction, the penalties will be more severe. The court will consider any previous convictions you have committed in the last two years when deciding on the penalties.

If you're a first-time offender, the court can charge you a maximum fine of $2,500 or sentence you to prison for a maximum of 6 months. If you're a second or subsequent offender, the court can sentence you to a maximum jail time of 1 year or sentence you to a maximum fine of $150,000.

Jail Time For Class One Conviction In Arizona

If the court sentences you to jail, you will spend your sentence in a county jail instead of a state prison. In some instances, though, the judge might decide not to send you to jail but instead impose probation. In Arizona, the maximum probation period the court can impose for class one misdemeanor is 3 years. The law requires the judge to impose probation if convicted for personal drug possession or possessing drug paraphernalia.

Surcharges That Might Significantly Increase The Fines For Class One Misdemeanor

In Arizona, some class one offenses have additional fines and surcharges. The judge is at liberty to impose these fines and charges if they deem it fit. These surcharges can significantly increase the fine amount. For example, if you are charged with a criminal justice enhancement fund, the surcharges can be as high as 42% of the fine amount.

If you are charged with a medical services enhancement fund, the surcharge can be 13% of the fine. For a first-time drug offense, the court can charge you an additional fine of at least $1,000. If you are charged with a second time or subsequent drug offense, the court can charge you an extra fine of at least $2,000.  If you are charged for DUI, the court can charge you an additional fine of $250. 

The court can impose any other penalties for class one misdemeanor. Some of these penalties include home detention, community service, alcohol or drug therapy, work release, mandatory educational classes, and the suspension of your driving license if the misdemeanor involves a motor vehicle.  

Remember, your criminal history will also be affected if you are convicted of a class one misdemeanor. The government and potential employers can treat you differently if you have a criminal record. If you are convicted of class one misdemeanor in Arizona, you can lose child custody, lose your second amendment right, and the right to own a gun. You can also lose your eligibility to attain a professional license or certification. Other consequences include having problems acquiring a mortgage or loan, especially if the misdemeanor was fraud-related.

The Prosecutor Must File A Charge For Level One Offence Less Than One Year After It Happens

According to Arizona law, the prosecutors must charge you with a class one misdemeanor less than one year after committing the offense. The exception to this rule is if the crime was a DUI that caused an accident that resulted in the death of a person or caused them serious injury. In such a case, the prosecution has up to two years to file the misdemeanor charges.

Class 2 Misdemeanors In Arizona

Arizona has a wide range of Class 2 misdemeanors, from public urination to drug possession.

It’s important to note all these crimes are punishable by fines, jail time, probation, and other penalties. So you may be wondering why these are not considered severe crimes as Class 1 misdemeanors.

These crimes are not considered more serious because they typically do not involve violence, the threat of injury, or property damage. However, they're still punishable by a fine, jail time, or imposition of community service. Below is a brief overview of the various Class 2 Misdemeanors in Arizona:

  1. False material statements to police officers, investigators, or prosecutors.
  2. Trespass into a motor vehicle and tampering with a motor vehicle.
  3. Offenses against public decency and good morals.
  4. Obstructing the driver's view of the highway.
  5. Unauthorized use of an emergency medical services vehicle or equipment
  6. Unauthorized possession, use, sale, or distribution of temporary license plate coverings designed for one-time use on a motor vehicle
  7. Being intoxicated in public.
  8. Stealing less than $2,000 worth of property
  9. Possession of prohibited drugs like marijuana, LSD, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and other hallucinogens.

Punishment For Class 2 Misdemeanors

In Arizona, the penalties for class 2 misdemeanor can range from fines, penalties, probations and jail time. The jail sentence for class 2 misdemeanor can range from two to six months. If you don’t have a criminal record, the judge will likely sentence you to probation instead of being incarcerated. Your criminal history will also determine the jail time and fines you pay.

If you have been convicted of a similar offense in the last two years, the court will sentence you as if you have committed a class one misdemeanor. If you’re a first-time offender, the court can sentence you to a maximum jail time of 4 months. The court can also charge you a maximum fine of $750 or sentence you to probation for a period of up to 2 years.

If you have one or more subsequent convictions in the past 2 years, the court can send you to jail for a maximum of 6 months. The court can also fine you up to $2,500 or sentence you to probation for a maximum of 3 years. 

When you’re convicted of a class 2 misdemeanor, you spend your sentence in county jail rather than in state prison. However, the judge can sentence you to 2 years on probation instead of sending you to jail.

Similar to class 1 misdemeanors, class 2 misdemeanors also attract various assessments and charges. These charges can also add a significant amount to the fines the court charges for the misdemeanor. For example, if you are a first-time drug-offender, the court will charge you an additional fine of $1,000. If you are charged for a second or subsequent drug offense, the court will charge you an extra $2,000 fine.

Other Penalties For Class Two Misdemeanors

The court can direct you to attend mandatory educational classes, make restitution payments, undergo alcohol and drug treatment counseling or therapy. Other penalties include home detention and the suspension of your driver’s license if your misdemeanor involves a motor vehicle.

Collateral Consequences Of Class Two Misdemeanor

You suffer collateral consequences when you’re convicted of a class two misdemeanor. Some of these consequences include the revocation of your right to possess or own a firearm, loss of your immigration status if you’re an immigrant. You can also have a hard time securing a job because of your criminal record. Therefore, it is critical to consult the services of a well-experienced criminal lawyer when charged with a class two misdemeanor to avoid a conviction.

How Much Time Do Prosecutors Have To File A Class 2 Misdemeanor?

In Arizona, the prosecutor must charge you with a class misdemeanor less than one year after committing the alleged crime. However, if the offense was a DUI that caused an accident that resulted in the death of a person or caused them serious injury, the prosecution has up to two years to file the misdemeanor charges.

Class Three Misdemeanors In Arizona

According to Arizona law, a class 3 misdemeanor is the least severe. However, a class 3 misdemeanor is still more severe than petty offenses. If you’re convicted of a class three misdemeanor in Arizona, the court can send you to jail for a maximum of 1 year or charge you a fine of up to $500. The judge can also impose 1-year probation. The court can also impose other penalties like restitution and community service.

Offenses That Constitute Class 3 Misdemeanors In Arizona

Some of the offenses which constitute class 3 misdemeanors include criminal nuisance, excessive speeding, loitering, assertive touching, some domestic violence offenses, among other similar offenses. If you have been charged with a class misdemeanor, it’s prudent to seek the services of an experienced Arizona defense attorney.

Penalties For Class 3 Misdemeanor

If you are convicted of a class 3 misdemeanor, the court will pass various penalties. Some of these penalties include jail time, probation, fines and other penalties.

The court will sentence you according to the class 3 misdemeanor statutes if you’re a first-time offender. But if you have a prior class 3 misdemeanor conviction in the past 2 years, the court will punish you according to class 2 misdemeanor penalties.

Penalties You Will Face For Class 3 Misdemeanor Conviction In Arizona.

If you’re a first offender, the court can sentence you to jail for up to 1 month. The court can also fine you $500 or sentence you to one-year probation. If you have a prior conviction in the last two years, the court can sentence you to 4 months in jail, fine you $750, or sentence you to 2 years’ probation.

Like class 1 and 2 misdemeanors, the court will send you to county jail instead of a state prison. However, the judge can impose probation instead of sending you to jail.  

The Court Process When Charged With A Misdemeanor In Arizona

The court process for a misdemeanor hearing in Arizona takes anywhere between 3 to 6 months. Remember, each misdemeanor case is different, and your case may take more or less time. It’s therefore critical to employ the services of a lawyer who’s well versed in the Arizona criminal justice system.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense, you’ll be required to appear in court. Several possible outcomes exist for your case, including dismissal, a plea deal, or a conviction.

Dismissal: In this case, the court will dismiss the misdemeanor charge. This means that the court will expunge the charges from your record and not hold any additional hearings or trials.

Plea Deal: If you agree to a plea deal in court, you will be required to pay a fine, do community service, or take a program. In most cases, you will have a chance to apply for a pardon after completing these requirements.

Conviction: If you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense in Arizona, you will be required to serve a prison sentence, pay a fine, do community service, or take a program. In most cases, you will have a chance to apply for a pardon after completing these requirements.

Can You Receive A Pardon For A Misdemeanor?

If you are charged with a misdemeanor offense in Arizona, you will have a chance to apply for a pardon after completing the requirements. However, if you are convicted, you will not be allowed to apply for a pardon. The requirements for a pardon in Arizona are:

  1. Complete community service
  2. Pay a fine
  3. Complete a program

Completion of the above requirements will enable you to receive a pardon. However, if you are convicted, you will not be allowed to apply for a pardon.

What Happens If You Don’t Complete Your Requirements?

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense in Arizona, you will be fined, do community service, or take a program. In most cases, you will not be allowed to apply for a pardon.

However, if you do not complete the requirements, you will still face the same penalties. In other words, you will still face fines, do community service, or take a program.

Call A Defense Attorney Near Me

Misdemeanor sentencing in Arizona is based on the seriousness of the offense, the offender’s history, and the danger the misdemeanor poses to the community. Arizona law classifies misdemeanors in three classes: class 1 misdemeanors, class 2 misdemeanors, and class 3 misdemeanors, which is the least serious of the three classes.

However, all the classes carry penalties that can have undesirable consequences. Therefore, if you or a loved one has been charged with a misdemeanor in Phoenix, it’s critical to consult an experienced Arizona criminal lawyer. At Phoenix Criminal Attorney, we have experience in representing clients who are facing misdemeanor charges. You can contact us at 602-551-8092, and we will represent you fervently to ensure you achieve a favorable outcome.

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