Understanding Arizona Misdemeanor Classes

arizona misdemeanor classesWhen it comes to crime, there are generally different levels of charges you hear about. Most of the time, we hear the words ,felony, and ,misdemeanor, thrown around, but how often do we really think about what they mean.

Do you even know the difference?

Felony charges are more severe than misdemeanors, but that does not mean anyone who is facing a misdemeanor should not take it seriously. These charges come with serious consequences, including jail time, fines, a criminal record, and a ruined reputation. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, please seek help from an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney to help you through this process.

The Different Classes Of Misdemeanors

In Arizona, the state distinguishes between three classes of misdemeanors.

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor
    • Maximum of 6 months in jail
    • Up to $2,500 in fines
  • Class 2 Misdemeanor
    • Maximum of 4 months in jail
    • Up to $750 in fines
  • Class 3 Misdemeanor
    • Maximum of 30 days in jail
    • Up to $500 in fines

While those sentencing guidelines seem straightforward, there are complexities. For those who have previously been convicted of misdemeanors, they can be sentenced to a higher level of misdemeanor. So, a person charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor charge could find that upgraded if they have a prior misdemeanor conviction.

First-Time Offenders

Though there is a range of jail time for misdemeanor offenses, first-time offenders typically receive lighter sentences. There are even diversion programs available for first-time offenders that can reduce penalties.

Some Common Misdemeanors

There is a wide range of misdemeanor offenses in Arizona. Here are some examples, but please know that this is not a complete list. Always speak to an attorney when making decisions about your particular case.

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor Examples
    • DUI
    • Shoplifting
    • Possession of marijuana
    • Domestic violence
    • Assault that causes injury
  • Class 2 Misdemeanor Examples
    • Assault, including the threat of injury
    • Criminal trespass in the second degree
    • Reckless driving
  • Class 3 Misdemeanor Examples
    • Criminal speeding
    • Loitering
    • Failure to appear
    • Criminal trespass in the third degree
    • Simple assault

Lifelong Consequences

Thinking of just taking a plea for a misdemeanor? Find out if you can get the charge dismissed or whether you are eligible for a diversion program first. By accepting a guilty plea, you will have a permanent mark on your criminal record. This will follow you around when you are looking for employment or when you want to attend school. If you have a charge related to DUI, speeding, or reckless driving on your record, you may not be able to take a job that requires you to operate company vehicles.

They can affect any additional offenses you have. Do you remember when we said above that those with previous misdemeanors can face more serious charges with additional misdemeanors? You do not want something that can be taken care of now to come back and haunt you in the future.

What Happens Now?

There are many things to take into consideration if you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense. It can be tempting to try to handle it yourself or to rely on a public defender, but that is not the best route. A qualified and experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney will be able to help you more than you think.

Your attorney is your advocate and understands the best ways to get your charges reduced or thrown out. Every aspect of your case needs to be examined by someone who understands the charges against you.

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