In Arizona, felonies are crimes punishable by terms of one year or more in state prison. Less serious crimes, called misdemeanors, are punishable by a maximum of six months in jail. Here’s some facts on felonies from criminal defense attorneys in Phoenix.
Felonies in Arizona may be classified as Class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, with Class 1 being the most serious and Class 6 being the least serious.
Class 1 Felonies
Class 1 felonies are the most serious crimes. In Arizona, only first and second degree murder are class 1 felonies. First degree murder is punishable by death or life imprisonment, and second degree murder is punishable by 16 years’ to life imprisonment.
Class 2 Felonies
In Arizona, the presumptive term for class 2 felonies is five years and the aggravated term is 12.5 years. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-701.)
Some examples of Class 2 Felonies include manslaughter, Fraudulent Schemes and Burglary of a Residential Structure with an Accomplice
Class 3 Felonies
The presumptive term for a class 3 felony is three years and six months; the aggravated term is eight years and nine months. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-701.) Second Degree Burglary is an example of a Class 3 Felony.
Class 4 Felonies
Class 4 felonies have a presumptive of two years and six months in prison and an aggravated term of three years and nine months. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-701.)
Possession of Narcotic Drugs (Personal Use), Forgery, Identity Theft, and Burglary in the Third Degree are examples of Class 4 Felonies.
Class 5 Felonies
A person convicted of a class 5 felony in Arizona faces a presumptive term of two years and an aggravated term of two years and six months in prison. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-701.)
Hindering Prosecution and Theft of Means of Transportation are Class 5 Felonies.
Class 6 Felonies
Class 6 felonies are the least serious felonies under Arizona law. The presumptive term for a class 6 felony is one year in prison and the aggravated term is two years in prison. Under certain circumstances, a judge can even designate a class 6 felony conviction as an “open 6” where it can later be designated as a class 1 misdemeanor conviction. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-604, 13-701.)
Resisting Arrest, Unlawful use of Means of Transportation, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia call all be classified as Class 6 Felonies.
Presumptive, Aggravated, and Mitigated Sentences
Arizona lawmakers have set a presumptive sentence for each class of offense, other than Class 1 Felonies. The defendant will often be given the presumptive sentence. Arizona’s lawmakers have also set aggravated and mitigated terms. A judge may sentence a defendant to the aggravated term, which is longer than the presumptive term, if the prosecutor can show certain circumstances. Some examples of aggravating circumstances include:
- The presence of an accomplice,
- The crime was particularly cruel, or
- The victim was over the age of 65.
A judge may also sentence a defendant to a mitigated term, which is a shorter term, if mitigating circumstances exist. Mitigating circumstances may include:
- The defendant is a young age,
- The defendant’s participation in the crime was minimal,
- The defendant does not have any prior convictions. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-701.)
Prior Felony Convictions
An Arizona judge can sentence any person convicted of a felony to pay a fine of up to $150,000. Additional fines may be imposed against defendants convicted of drug crimes. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-801, 13-821.)