Felonies are the most serious type of criminal offense and often involve serious bodily harm to an individual. Felony crimes also include fraud schemes and white collar crimes and crimes involving use of a deadly weapon. In some cases, a misdemeanor crime may be elevated to a felony for second-time offenders. Felony crimes carry harsher penalties and fines.
In the state of Arizona, felonies are classified as crimes punishable by a minimum of one year or more in state prison. Felonies are classified as Class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 under Arizona laws. Penalties and sentences for each class of felony crime are given below:
Class 1 Felonies
A Class 1 felony is the most serious crime in the state of Arizona. First and second degree murder fall under Class 1 felony. Punishments include death or life imprisonment in case of first degree murder, or 16 years to life imprisonment for second degree murder.
Class 2 Felonies
Class 2 felonies in Arizona have a presumptive term of 5 years. The aggravated term is 12.5 years. Child enticement and child pornography are considered class 2 felony crimes.
Class 3 Felonies
Class 3 felonies in Arizona have a presumptive term of 3.5 years. The aggravated term is 8 years and 9 months. Anyone found in possession of more than 4 pounds of marijuana is charged with a class 3 felony in Arizona. Cultivating marijuana in Arizona also falls under this category of crime.
Class 4 Felonies
Class 4 felonies in Arizona have a presumptive term of 2.5 years. The aggravated term is 3 years and 9 months. Petty thefts and theft of property between $3,000 and $4,000 of worth fall under class 4 felonies.
Class 5 Felonies
Any other crime not indicated in a particular class of felony crimes falls under class 5 felony crimes. A class 5 felony charge carries a presumptive term of 2 years. The aggravated term is 2.5 years in prison. Prostitution, pimping and pandering fall under this category of crime.
Class 6 Felonies
The least serious felonies are considered Class 6 felony crimes under Arizona law. Class 6 felony crimes carry a presumptive term of 1 year in prison whereas the aggravated term is 2 years. In some cases, the judge may designate the class 6 felony conviction as a class 1 misdemeanor conviction, so the defendant is sentenced accordingly.
In more serious felony cases, the judge may sentence a person convicted of a felony to pay a fine of up to $150,000. Defendants convicted of drug crimes in Arizona may even have to pay additional fines.
The Arizona Criminal Statute of Limitations define how soon the state must begin criminal prosecution against the defendant. Most serious felony cases do not have a statute of limitations, and the state can begin prosecution at any time. Whether you are facing a Class 1 felony crime or a Class 6 felony crime in Arizona, it is important that you get in touch with an Arizona criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will help you obtain the best possible outcome and may even have your case reduced to a misdemeanor conviction instead of a felony conviction.