Arizona Felony Classifications and Penalties
Arizona treats all classes of felonies as very serious crimes. Instead of the maximum six month jail sentence served in a county jail that misdemeanor crimes incur, the Arizona felony classifications can incur a minimum of a one-year sentence a defendant must serve in a state or federal prison. Additionally, Arizona felony classifications can carry fines totaling $150,000.00 per count with drug convictions potentially going even higher than that amount.
Also, and unlike misdemeanors, state and federal courts can try felony cases. Some factors influencing where a felony case is tried include where the crime was planned and then took place, whether it was committed against the Arizona state, or federal government, as well as various other special circumstances relating to the planning and execution of the criminal act(s).
The six different felony classes, ranging from most to least serious, are:
- Class 1 Felonies
- Class 2 Felonies
- Class 3 Felonies
- Class 4 Felonies
- Class 5 Felonies
- Class 6 Felonies
Even if a defendant is charged with a class 6 felony, a guilty verdict can be extremely damaging to his or her public record. This is why it is important to consult a dedicated, diligent defense attorney if you find yourself facing any kind of felony charge. It is important to understand the various Arizona felony classifications and penalties. Let’s learn more about them by going through each of them one-by-one….
Class 1 Felonies
Class 1 felonies are the most serious of all felony crimes. The two class 1 felonies in Arizona are first and second degree murder. A first-degree murder conviction carries either a life sentence or the death penalty. A second-degree murder conviction carries a sentence of 16 years to life in prison (Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-705, 13-706, 13-710, 13-1104, 13-1105).
Class 2 Felonies
The sentencing for a class 2 felony (and every other less severe felony) depends on whether or not aggravated terms are met. Aggravated terms may apply if a crime is committed in an especially cruel or heinous manner, is committed against a person over 65 years of age, includes an accomplice, is perpetrated for monetary gain, just to name a few aggravators. In Arizona, the standard (or presumptive) amount of sentencing time for a class 2 felony is five years in prison, and the aggravated sentence length is 12.5 years in prison (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-701).
Class 3 Felonies
The presumptive term for a first time, non-dangerous Arizona class 3 felony is 3.5 years in prison, and the aggravated term is 8.75 years in prison.
Class 4 Felonies
The presumptive term for a first time, non-dangerous Arizona class 4 felony is 2.5 years in prison, and the aggravated term is 3.75 years in prison.
Class 5 Felonies
The presumptive term for a first time, non-dangerous Arizona class 5 felony is 2 years in prison, and the aggravated term is 2.5 years in prison.
Class 6 Felonies
First time Arizona Class 6 felonies carry a presumptive term of one year in prison, and an aggravated term of 2 years in prison. Some judges can choose to look at the circumstances of a class 6 felony crime and reclassify it as a class 1 misdemeanor instead. In such cases, the court will hand down jail time and/or fines corresponding with that level of misdemeanor.
Additional Felony Considerations
Arizona judges are allowed to determine if mitigating circumstances are present when deciding a sentence. These can include the defendant’s age, or the role he or she played in the crime. If a judge finds mitigating circumstances, he or she can prescribe shorter sentencing terms.
Arizona law allows for a judge to sentence a defendant to a longer prison term than his or her
current felony charge mandates (Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-703, 13-704, 13-706) if he or she has two or more prior felonies on their record, or at least one aggravated felony. Most Arizona felony charges have a seven- year statute of limitations. This means that in order for a defendant to be prosecuted, the legal process must begin within seven years of the date the state becomes aware a person committed the crime. The exception to the statute of limitations rule happens in very serious cases like murder.
Trust Laboy Law With Your Felony Defense in Arizona
The effects of a felony conviction go far beyond prison time and upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. They also create a permanent record that follows someone throughout the entirety of his or her life. Laboy Law provides our clients with focused legal assistance to help defend them against the most serious felony charges in Arizona. Our dedicated team of legal professionals will diligently fight to uphold and defend your rights. We will also make sure that you receive the benefit of every possible legal strategy and defense option within the boundaries of the law. If you would like to discuss your need for felony defense in Arizona with us, please contact us today for a free, private consultation at 602-777-3368.