In Arizona, felony convictions are punishable by terms of one year or more in a state prison. Felonies in Arizona are categorized in six “classes.” First and second degree murder are the only Class One felonies in Arizona. First degree murder is punishable by the death penalty or by life in prison, and second degree murder is punishable by a prison term of 16 years to life. If you are charged with any felony in Arizona or with any misdemeanor, immediately discuss your case with an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney.
For crimes other than Class One felonies, Arizona lawmakers have established a “presumptive” sentence for each class of crime, and 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 state can prove aggravating circumstances. A judge is also permitted to sentence a defendant to the “mitigated” term, a shorter term, if certain mitigating circumstances are present:
- The presumptive term for Class Two felonies is 5 years; the aggravated term is 12.5 years.
- The presumptive term for Class Three felonies is 3.5 years; the aggravated term is 8 years and 9 months.
- The presumptive term for Class Four felonies is 2.5 years; the aggravated term is 3 years and 9 months.
- The presumptive term for Class Five felonies is 2 years; the aggravated term is 2.5 years.
- The presumptive term for Class Six felonies is 1 year; the aggravated term is 2 years.
An Arizona judge can also 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. If you have two or more prior felony convictions or one prior conviction for a violent felony, the sentences listed here can be extended. Clearly, if you are charged with a felony in Arizona, you cannot expect leniency from the courts. Instead, you’ll need to fight the charge and contact an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.