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Misdemeanors in Arizona: A Quick Guide

A misdemeanor arrest can be a terrifying experience, especially if you’ve never been arrested before. Almost every client I speak to wants to know exactly what it means to be charged with a misdemeanor. While some misdemeanors carry their own unique penalties, such as DUI, there are some basics we can easily cover here. There are three levels of misdemeanors – class 1, 2, and 3. Class 1 is the highest level and class 3 is lowest.

Class 1 Misdemeanors
As the highest level of misdemeanor, crimes classified as class 1 misdemeanors come with the highest penalties. Many clients will come to see after arraignment and tell me the Judge told them they were going to get six months in jail. This is a common misunderstanding. In truth, the maximum amount of jail time you can ever receive for a class 1 misdemeanor is six months in jail. This does not mean, however, that you will receive six months – it is just the maximum level of jail time available. The Judge can sentence you to anywhere from no time in jail all the way up to the maximum and anywhere in between. You can also be sentenced to a maximum fine of $2,500.00 plus any surcharges and up to three years of probation. Some class 1 misdemeanors, such as DUI, come with mandatory minimum penalties, but the maximum exposure remains the same.

Class 2 Misdemeanors
As the second highest level of misdemeanor, the penalties are a little lower than a class 1 misdemeanor. The maximum amount of jail time you can receive is four months, but again, you can receive no jail time at all. You can also be ordered to pay a maximum fine of $750.00 and serve two years of probation. Some common class 2 misdemeanors are Reckless Driving and Criminal Damage where the property damaged is less than $250.00.

Class 3 Misdemeanors
The lowest misdemeanor naturally comes with the lowest possible penalties. If you’re facing a class 3 misdemeanor then you’re looking at up to 30 days of jail, a maximum fine of $500.00, and one year of probation. It is rare to get jail time for a class 3 misdemeanor, but still very possible. A common class misdemeanor is Assault pursuant to A.R.S. Section 13-1203A(3). If you knowingly touch another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke such person, then you can be charged with Assault as a class 3 misdemeanor.

It’s important to remember that you only face these penalties if you are convicted of the misdemeanor charge. If you’re case is dismissed, or you’re found not guilty after trial then you won’t face any penalties whatsoever. The best way to get that result is to hire an attorney experienced in defending misdemeanor crimes. At The Nava Law Firm, we’ve successfully handled thousands of misdemeanors. Contact us today for a free consultation.