Arizona Misdemeanor Laws
In the criminal justice system, criminal charges and convictions are separated into two types: misdemeanors and felonies. Understanding how misdemeanors and felonies work is vital when forming a defense strategy with your Arizona criminal defense attorneys, both so you understand the gravity of the charges you may face and the potential penalties the charges may incur if they lead to a conviction.
This page will break down everything you need to know about misdemeanor crimes in Arizona, including potential penalties and how misdemeanor sentencing works.
Misdemeanors in Arizona
In Arizona, misdemeanor crimes may carry punishments including a maximum of six months in jail and fines of up to $2500. Arizona also classifies “petty offenses” as the least serious offenses in its laws. These are punished only by fines of up to $300.
Compared to felonies, misdemeanors are less severe crimes and carry lighter penalties. But misdemeanor convictions can still seriously derail your life, lead to long-lasting repercussions, and make it difficult to gain employment later.
Misdemeanor Sentencing in Arizona
Arizona’s criminal laws classify misdemeanors into three types:
- Class 1 misdemeanors are the most serious and may carry punishments including up to six months in jail and a $2500 fine
- Class 2 misdemeanors may carry penalties of up to four months in jail and a $750 fine
- Class 3 misdemeanors are the least serious and may carry penalties of up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine
During sentencing, a judge can decide on penalties up to these limits. Furthermore, Arizona law allows judges to impose additional fines if you are convicted of misdemeanor drug crimes.
Arizona Misdemeanor Examples
Misdemeanor crimes include many different types of criminal actions. Here are some examples separated by class.
Class 1 Misdemeanors
These serious misdemeanors include theft of property that’s worth less than $1000. If it’s worth more than $1000, the charge may be classified as a felony instead.
They also include assault charges that involve intentionally or knowingly injuring another person. Charges of disorderly conduct are also included among Class 1 misdemeanors.
Class 2 Misdemeanors
Class 2 misdemeanors are less serious than Class 1 misdemeanors, but may still carry heavy penalties. They include charges such as not giving your real name when detained by law enforcement or exposing yourself to the public if you have an infectious disease, such as the flu or COVID-19.
Furthermore, Class 2 misdemeanor charges can include actions as minor as fraudulently obtaining video, cable, or any other wireless services. Because these actions aren’t always apparently illegal, many individuals do not expect to be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor when they are arrested.
Class 3 Misdemeanors
Class 3 misdemeanors are the least serious and involve actions such as touching someone with the intent to injure, provoke, or insult, failing to report drug use in a school zone as a school employee, or interfering with a parent’s legal custody of their child.
With all types of misdemeanors, past criminal activity or prior convictions for misdemeanors could affect the class of your current misdemeanor charge. For example, if you have a history of Class 3 misdemeanor convictions, another charge of a traditionally Class 3 misdemeanor crime could be charged as a Class 2 misdemeanor instead.
Why Arizona Defense Attorneys Are Necessary
Although misdemeanor charges are not as serious as felony charges, you should still never go to court alone. Hire knowledgeable Arizona criminal defense attorneys to mitigate the risk of serious penalties and avoid the possibility of your misdemeanor charge being “upgraded” to a felony charge because of an overzealous prosecution team.
Arizona criminal defense lawyers can help you create and enact a successful defense strategy that mitigates or eliminates your charges and their associated penalties. Furthermore, defense attorneys can help you manage the stress and workload associated with preparing for an upcoming court case.
Contact local Arizona criminal defense attorneys today!