A class 2 felony is one of the most serious categories of crimes in Arizona. In terms of severity, it is second only to murder. A class 2 felony is typically punishable by 3 to 35 years in prison, depending on the defendant’s past criminal history. The more prior felony convictions, the defendant has, the higher the potential sentencing range. for a class 3 felony is typically between 2 and 8.75 years for a first-time offender. But the amount of prison time can increase to 25 years for a defendant with multiple prior felony convictions. A conviction may also result in fines and restitution payments. If a person charged with a class 3 felony has never been convicted of a felony before, then probation may be an option.
What is a Class 2 Felony in Arizona?
A class 2 felony is a specific category of crime in Arizona.
Arizona law divides crimes into two broad categories: felonies and misdemeanors.
Misdemeanors are not punished as harshly as felonies and do not carry the stigma that a felony conviction does. Misdemeanor fines are smaller and jail time is usually limited. Meanwhile, felonies usually carry prison terms for multiple years. And being a convicted felon means that you will lose certain rights as citizens, such as your right to vote and possess guns.
Felony crimes are divided into six specific classes:
- Class 1 felonies;
- Class 2 felonies;
- Class 3 felonies;
- Class 4 felonies;
- Class 5 felonies; and
- Class 6 felonies.
Each category has its own range of potential punishments, with class 6 felonies being the least severe and class 1 felonies the harshest. A class 2 felony is the second-most severely punished type of crime.
Examples of Class 2 Felonies
There are over 50 different class 2 felony crimes in Arizona. Common class 2 felonies include:
- Drive by shooting;
- Sexual assault;
- Burglary in the first degree;
- Armed robbery;
- Sexual exploitation of a minor;
- Arson of an occupied structure.
A complete list of the types of class 2 felony crimes under Arizona law can be found here.
Punishments for Class 2 Felonies
For a typical class 2 felony, the sentencing range that a defendant will face if he is convicted of the crime depends on the number of prior felony convictions that he has. The sentencing ranges for non-dangerous class 2 felonies is as follows:
- No prior felonies: Probation eligible, or 3 to 12.5 years in prison.
- One prior felony: 4.5 to 23 years.
- Two or more prior felonies: 10.5 and 35 years.
Once a sentencing range is determined based on the defendant’s criminal history, it is up to the judge to decide the specific sentence for the defendant. If the defendant has no prior felonies, the judge must decide whether the defendant will be sentenced to probation or prison. If the judge determine that prison is appropriate, the number of years of incarceration is decided by the judge based off of the aggravating and mitigating factors.
If a class 2 felony is charged as “dangerous” because it involves the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, then the defendant will be sentenced under an enhanced sentencing range for “dangerous” crimes. Dangerous crimes are not eligible for probation, even for a first offense. A first-time dangerous offender will be sentenced to prison for a minimum of 7 years to a maximum of 21 years.
Statute of Limitations for Class 2 Felonies
Almost all crimes have a “statute of limitations.” This means that the prosecutor must bring criminal charges within a certain period of time, otherwise prosecutor for the crime cannot occur. According to ARS 13-170, the statute of limitations for class 2 felonies is seven years.
Note: The time limits in the statute of limitations only apply when the defendant is present in the state of Arizona. Being absent from the state “stops the clock,” so that the time away from Arizona does not count towards the 7-year statute of limitations.