Arizona Felony and Misdemeanor Charges
When someone is charged with a crime in Arizona, that crime is classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor. While these classifications may seem relatively minor compared to the ultimate result of any case, the truth is that such a classification could make all the difference in what ultimately happens if the defendant is convicted.
Below is an overview of the differences between felonies and misdemeanors in Arizona, and if you have been charged with a crime, you need to contact the criminal defense lawyers at Montano Arentz & Handler PLLC as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation. The firm can offer payment plans in many situations, so money should not be a reason to forego your right to a skilled criminal defense attorney.
The Nature of Felonies in Arizona
Felonies are obviously more serious than misdemeanors, and below are the classifications and potential presumptive sentences for each type of felony in Arizona:
- Class 1 felony: 25 years to life in prison, and the death penalty is possible in cases of first degree murder
- Class 2 felony: 5 years
- Class 3 felony: 3.5 years
- Class 4 felony: 2.5 years
- Class 5 felony: 1.5 years
- Class 6 felony: 1 year
Obviously, there is discretion available to the judge at sentencing, but the terms in prison listed above represent the presumptive sentence, or that which is generally assigned upon a conviction. In addition to the long periods of incarceration, a defendant convicted of a felony will serve his or her time in a state prison as opposed to a local jail. The periods of imprisonment listed above represent the possible punishments for a first-time offender, and these sentences can be more severe for those who have a previous conviction on their records.
The Nature of Misdemeanors in Arizona
Misdemeanors are generally less severe than felonies in Arizona, and like with felonies, Arizona has a number-based system designed to describe the severity of the crime alleged. Below are those classifications and the potential periods of incarceration for each:
- Class 1 misdemeanor: 6 months
- Class 2 misdemeanor: 4 months
- Class 3 misdemeanor: 30 days
Fines can also be imposed upon conviction of a misdemeanor, and the amounts involved will depend upon the facts of the case and the criminal record of the convicted defendant.
Why You Need an Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney
The reasons you will need the help of an Arizona criminal defense lawyer when you are charged with a crime are nearly limitless in number. In regards to the classification of the crime, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a charge that’s a felony down to a misdemeanor, which clearly subjects the defendant to much shorter periods of incarceration.
If a plea bargain is not reached and a trial is completed, a criminal defense attorney will also be able to present the best possible case for you as it relates to the sentence that the judge ultimately hands down. There is room for discretion with judges, and a skilled attorney will be able to present all of the relevant evidence that could be of aid to you in regards to that decision. In essence, a conviction could ultimately include time served that’s commensurate with a class 3 felony as opposed to a class 2 felony, and every day not spent incarcerated is an enormous benefit.
Ultimately, you need help if you’ve been charged with a crime in Arizona. Montano Arentz & Handler PLLC will be able to meet with you at your location. You may also be able to work out a fair and reasonable payment plan with the firm, as money should not be a reason to have to give up your legal rights and protections. Contact the firm today to schedule an initial consultation.
Montano Arentz & Handler, PLLC and Phillips Law Group, P.C. are separate independent law firms from other firms listed on this website. Phillips Law Group, P.C. handles only contingency fee cases. This includes automobile and vehicle accidents and all personal injury cases but we also handle medical malpractice, product liability, employment, wage and hour cases, Social Security disability and worker's compensation cases. Montano Arentz & Handler, PLLC, handles only Criminal and DUI cases, as well as consumer Bankruptcy and Debt Relief cases, and Immigration Law cases.