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Misdemeanors in Arizona

Posted on November 9, 2023 in

Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies in Arizona. However, aside from fines, fees, and other charges, misdemeanors are still punishable by up to six months in the county or local jail.

In Arizona, misdemeanors are classified into three levels according to severity: Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3. Class 1 is the most serious because it has the severest penalties.

Penalties for each class are discussed in detail below. If you are facing a misdemeanor charge in Arizona, now is the time to contact our criminal defense lawyers to review your case.

Maximum Penalties for Class 1 Misdemeanor Maximum Penalties for Class 2 Misdemeanor Maximum Penalties for Class 3 Misdemeanor
Six months jail time Four months jail time 30 days jail time
$2,500 in fines $750 in fines $500 in fines

Class 1 Misdemeanor

Prostitution and pimping fall under this category of crime.
he statutes declare that those who have a previous misdemeanor or petty offense convictions may be sentenced to the next higher misdemeanor level. As such, Class 1 penalties may be imposed on someone who is charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor if he has past convictions. It also states that the court may require that a person charged with a misdemeanor may not be released until the sentence has been fully served.

If you are facing felony charges like possession of marijuana, your attorney may be able to reduce your charge to a class 1 misdemeanor.

Class 2 Misdemeanor

Arizona law charges a misdemeanor class 2 offense to people infected with a contagious or infectious disease who knowingly expose others to that disease in a public place or thoroughfare. As with Class 1, those who have a previous misdemeanor or petty offense convictions may be sentenced to the next higher misdemeanor level, which means that Class 2 penalties may be imposed on someone who is charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor if he has past convictions.

Class 3 Misdemeanor

Criminal speeding is an example of a Class 3 misdemeanor. Asking a person to buy, sell or give you alcohol if you are a minor, under the age of 21, is also considered as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Jail Times for Misdemeanors

Although misdemeanors can carry jail time up to six months, first-time misdemeanors are typically given lesser penalties. You may be able to reduce your charges and punishments if you agree to participate in a diversion program, if available, or comply with other requirements of the court to lessen your penalties.

For Class 1 misdemeanors, aside from jail time, the court may impose other penalties that may be corrective, punitive, or restorative. This could be any of the following

  • restitution to compensate the victims,
  • community service,
  • suspension of license for crimes involving a vehicle
  • defensive driving school,
  • treatment or counseling,
  • work release, and/or
  • house arrest

As with the actual penalties, the fines vary depending on your specific charge and circumstances.

Reducing the impact of your charge.

If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you will most likely undergo a trial by jury. It is advisable that you immediately seek counsel from an Arizona criminal defense attorney to plead their case. You have a choice to plea bargain in order to lessen, reduce, or drop some of the charges. Entering a plea can improve your circumstances. However, you should be aware of all available options before deciding on how to proceed in your case.

A misdemeanor conviction can pose grave consequences that may affect your life beyond the courtroom:

  • Your conviction is included in a permanent criminal record that can be discovered by agencies, institutions, and employers when they conduct background checks.
  • You may lose the right to own or carry firearms.
  • Your immigration, legal status, and the ability to gain citizenship will be negatively affected, or worse, you may be deported.
  • Your professional license may not be renewed or worse, it may be revoked or suspended.
  • You may miss out on employment opportunities because of your criminal record.
  • If you have accumulated too many driving infractions, your driver’s license may be restricted, suspended, or revoked.
  • A conviction can have negatively affect custody and divorce proceedings.
  • You may face relationship problems, your family may be affected as well because of the stigma of being a convicted criminal.

Just because a misdemeanor is not as serious as a felony, you can already be complacent. It can change your life for the worse. If you are facing a misdemeanor charge in Arizona, do not delay in seeking the advice of our criminal defense attorney. The sooner you get in touch with us, the better we can evaluate your case,  assess how we can protect your rights, and get the best possible outcome for you.