The most severe criminal offense in Arizona is classified as a felony.
Arizona criminal law differentiates felonies into 6 classes of felonies, and each conviction carries the potential sentencing of over one (1) year in prison. Furthermore, felonies come with heavier penalties than misdemeanors or petty offenses in terms of fines and other repercussions.
Felonies are serious charges and, if convicted, can have serious implications for the rest of your life, including the potential loss of civil rights and opportunities.
What is Considered a Felony in Arizona?
In Arizona, a felony is defined as any criminal offense that is punishable by more than one year of incarceration. This includes, but is not limited to, capital offenses such as murder and arson, property crimes such as burglary or robbery, drug-related felonies such as possession and trafficking, and violent felonies including assault or kidnapping.
What Types of Charges Constitute a Felony in Arizona?
If you have been arrested for a crime in Arizona, you can either be charged for a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the nature and severity of the offense.
A felony is the more serious of the two types of charges and is typically punishable by at least a one-year jail sentence. Those convicted of a felony are also at risk of incurring a significant fine and may have trouble obtaining employment in the future.
There are several offenses that can be charged as a felony, including:
- Theft crimes
- Firearm offenses
- Drug possession
- Drug trafficking
- Sex crimes
- Traffic violations
- Domestic violence
- Violent crimes
What are the Different Classes of Felonies in Arizona?
In Arizona, felonies are divided into 6 different classes. Each class carries different potential punishments, including jail time and fines. The lower the number, the more serious the felony and the harsher the penalty.
The 6 felony classes in Arizona are as follows:
- Class 1 felonies,
- Class 2 felonies,
- Class 3 felonies,
- Class 4 felonies,
- Class 5 felonies, and
- Class 6 felonies.
The degree of the felony will determine the potential prison sentence you may receive if convicted.
Class 1 felonies are the most serious felonies and are limited to two (2) offenses: first-degree murder and second-degree murder.
Class 6 felonies are the least severe, and prosecutors could choose to go after a misdemeanor charge instead.
Regardless of the class, all felonies in Arizona are serious offenses and can have lasting repercussions. If you are convicted of a felony, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected and to minimize the potential consequences.
Penalties for Felonies in Arizona
In Arizona, felonies are divided into six classes. Each class of felony has general guidelines for sentencing that the court can, but is not required to, use when determining penalties to impose on the guilty offender.
The advisory sentencing for each category of felony include:
- Class 1: 25 years to life in prison
- Class 2: five years in jail
- Class 3: three and a half years in prison
- Class 4: two and a half years of imprisonment
- Class 5: one and a half years in jail
- Class 6: one year of jail time
Ultimately, the decision is left to the discretion of the judge. Even if a person is convicted, a skilled criminal defense lawyer can help present evidence and arguments to reduce the period of incarceration. Sometimes an attorney can even negotiate to have a crime charged as a misdemeanor that would have otherwise been charged as a felony.
How Does Felony Sentencing Work in Arizona?
Arizona has mandatory sentencing laws. This means that a judge is restricted to giving a sentence within a certain range depending on the crime. This gives the court some discretion to decide a defendant’s sentence, but the Arizona legislature has set the minimum sentence and maximum sentence.
Here is a picture of the sentencing chart:
Get a Former Prosecutor on Your Side
Felony convictions are serious and can change an individual’s life for many years ahead. When you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney in Arizona, turn to Salwin Law Group PLLC. I am prepared to listen attentively to your side of the story and help you build a defense plan that is tailored to your unique situation.
Begin with a free consultation by contacting (480) 702-1789 now.