How Is A Felony Defined In Arizona?

Felony in Arizona

The definition of a felony is any offense for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in the custody of State Department of Correction is authorized by any law. In short, it means that if you can go to prison, by being found guilty of that offense, then that is what levels out a felony. The felonies go from a Class VI felony, which is the lowest level felony all the way up to a Class I felony, which is murder.

What Is The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony?
Misdemeanors are lesser offenses than felony charges. Those are classified as Class I, II and III and just as felonies, Class I is the highest and Class III is the lowest. The absolute maximum penalty for a misdemeanor is six months in jail. This is one of the biggest differences between a between a misdemeanor and a felony. A person can have 30 misdemeanors but even on the 31st misdemeanor, a person can’t go to prison. When it comes to felonies, prison is on the table.

What Are Some Examples Of Felony Charges?
Some examples of felonies would include murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide and vehicular manslaughter. There is also aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, burglary, theft and trafficking in stolen property. Those are some of the felonies that can be towards the upper range, Class II, Class III, and Class IV felonies which carry a much harsher penalty. Additionally drug offenses, trespassing, theft of means of transportation can also be charged as felonies in Arizona as well.

If Someone Is Arrested For A Felony, Will They Be Facing Felony Charges In Court?
When someone is charged with a felony, they will most likely be facing felony charges in court. However, there are a few different things that can happen. For example, if someone is arrested for a felony aggravated assault and the prosecutor reviews the case and believes the elements of the felony may not be met, they can do a County Attorney “turndown”. This would mean that they are basically saying there is not enough to charge for aggravated assault, so therefore it is not going to be charged as a felony. It would then go back to the jurisdiction that made the arrest and they could then decide to charge a simple assault which is then a misdemeanor. This is just one of the most important reasons to hire an experienced attorney from the beginning to help fight your case.

Can A Misdemeanor Arrest Be Enhanced To Felony Charges?
It’s the same answer in reverse. For example, if someone is pulled over and arrested for a DUI and later it is determined that person’s license was suspended at that time that would be an additional element that would take this from a misdemeanor DUI up to a felony DUI. Therefore, when additional facts or evidence are uncovered after someone is arrested for a misdemeanor, then a person could still be charged later on with felony charges.

Do Misdemeanors And Felonies Generally Impact The Criminal Record In The Same Way?
Felonies have a much greater impact on a person’s record than a misdemeanor. With a felony conviction, a person will lose his or her right to vote, the right to be on a jury and a right to have firearms. That is not the case with misdemeanor convictions.

Additionally, background checks are run for various reasons. This means potential employers and landlords, for example, are looking for felony convictions which then potentially could preclude you from gaining a new job or housing. Some may even look for misdemeanors. However, having a felony on your record is much more damaging than if it were just a misdemeanor.

For more information on Felony Offenses In Arizona, a free initial Case Evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (602) 833-5280 today.