A class 4 felony is in the middle-range of severity for felony crimes. It is more severe than a class 5 felony, but less severe than a class 3 felony. The sentencing range for a class 4 felony is usually between 1 year and 3.75 years for a first offense. But a defendant with multiple prior felony convictions can face up to 15 years for committing a crime that is categorized as a class 4 felony. A conviction can also result in fines. A person may be eligible for probation if this is his first felony offense.
What is a Class 4 Felony in Arizona?
A class 4 felony is a category of a crime in Arizona.
Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors. Misdemeanors can result in fines and jail time, but felony convictions can lead to confinement in state prison for longer periods of time. Felony convictions also result in the defendant losing certain civil liberties, like voting and gun rights.
Felony crimes are divided into six different classes:
- Class 1 felonies;
- Class 2 felonies;
- Class 3 felonies;
- Class 4 felonies;
- Class 5 felonies; and
- Class 6 felonies.
Class 1 felonies are the most serious and are punished very harshly, and class 6 felonies are considered the least serious and therefore are not punished as severely.
Examples of Class 4 Felonies
There are about 100 crimes in Arizona that are categorized as class 4 felonies. Common class 4 felony crimes include:
- Certain types of aggravated assault;
- Burglary in the third degree;
- Criminal damage (if the value is over $10,000);
- Misconduct involving weapons;
- Possession of dangerous or narcotic drugs.
A complete list of the types of class 4 felonies under Arizona law can be found here.
Punishments for Class 4 Felonies
The penalties provided by law for class 4 felonies depends on the number of prior felony convictions the defendant has and also whether the crime is charged as “dangerous” or not. Dangerous crimes are those that involve the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. If the crime is not charged as dangerous, class 4 felonies are punishable as follows:
- No prior felonies: Probation eligible, or 1 to 3.75 years in prison.
- One prior felony: 2.25 to 7.5 years.
- Two or more prior felonies: 6 and 15 years.
If a defendant is found guilty of a class 4 felony, then the judge decides at the defendant’s sentencing hearing what type of punishment is appropriate within the sentencing ranges above.
A class 4 felony charges as a “dangerous” offense requires prison time if the defendant is convicted, even if it is the defendant’s first felony offense. Probation is not an option for a dangerous crime. The punishment for a first-time class 4 dangerous felony is 4 to 8 years.
Statute of Limitations for Class 4 Felonies
Most crimes in Arizona have a statute of limitations, which is a time period during which the state must bring charges against the defendant or lose the right to do so. According to ARS 13-170, the statute of limitations for class 4 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.
Example: A person committed a class 4 felony crime in 2010. But between 2011 and 2020 the person moves to New York and does not return to Arizona. Can the state bring charge for the 2010 crime if he returns to Arizona in 2021 and gets arrested? Yes. Even though 7 years have passed since 2010 when the crime was committed, the period of time the defendant spent outside of Arizona does not count for the statute of limitations. The state still has until 2025 to bring charges, which is when 7 years will have passed during which the defendant was present in Arizona.