Arizona Attorney Discusses Difference Between A Misdemeanor and Felony
Being charged with any kind of crime can be scary, especially if you know you’re innocent. In some cases, police make mistakes. They arrest the wrong person who fits the description of a suspect. In other cases, people are charged with crimes simply because they misinterpreted a law that may have been poorly written.
Whether a criminal charge is a misdemeanor or felony, it can turn your life upside down. That’s why it is important to speak to an Arizona criminal defense attorney as soon as you’re accused of a crime. The longer you wait, the harder it often becomes to fight the charges.
Misdemeanor charges are less severe than felonies and often involve nonviolent or petty crimes. In Arizona, misdemeanors are classified by the severity and the type of the crime committed. In addition, an adult who commits a misdemeanor more than once within a two-year period (which doesn’t include incarceration) will be sentenced to the next class up from the first conviction.
- Class 1: Up to six months in county jail and fines up to $2,500. Common class 1 misdemeanors include disorderly conduct, unlawful assembly, prostitution, false reporting to law enforcement, and false advertising.
- Class 2: Up to four months in county jail and fines up to $750. Knowingly exposing another person to an infectious disease can result in a class 2 misdemeanor.
- Class 3: Up to 30 days in county jail and fines up to $500. Class 3 misdemeanors include excessive speeding, loitering, and third-degree criminal trespassing.
While this type of charge may seem minor, it can have a profound impact on your future. A single conviction can stay on your record permanently, making it difficult to find employment.
- Class 1 felonies: First- and second-degree murder constitute a class 1 felonies in Arizona. First-degree murder is punishable by death or life in prison. Second-degree murder is punishable by imprisonment for 16 years to life.
- Class 2 felonies: Up to 12 and a half years in prison. Includes attempt of a class 1 felony, manslaughter, aggravated assault, first-degree burglary, kidnapping, terrorism, sex trafficking and sex crimes involving children.
- Class 3 felonies: Up to eight years and nine months in prison. Includes attempt of a class 2 felony, solicitation of a class 1 felony, alteration of lottery tickets, aggravated robbery and assisting a criminal street gang.
- Class 4 felonies: Up to three years and nine months in prison. Includes attempt of a class 3 felony, solicitation of a class 2 felony, third-degree burglary and forgery.
- Class 5 felonies: Up to two and a half years in state prison. Includes attempt of a class 4 felony, solicitation of a class 3 felony, facilitation of a class 1 felony, pandering, and bigamy.
- Class 6 felonies: Up to two years in prison. Includes attempt of a class 5 felony, solicitation of a class 4 felony, facilitation of a class 2 or 3 felony, possession of burglary tools, resisting arrest, and tampering with physical evidence.
Charged with a crime? You need an attorney!
If you have been accused of a crime, the consequences of a charge can be serious. It i best to exercise your Fifth Amendment rights and remain silent. Anything you tell investigating officers can later be used in court to convict you. Fighting these charges will require an experienced, Arizona criminal defense attorney who understands how the state and federal justice system works.
Contact us today to learn more.