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Misdemeanor FAQ – Arizona

Should I hire an attorney for a misdemeanor?

In the state of Arizona, a misdemeanor denotes a criminal violation less grave than a felony, usually resulting in a punishment of less than 6 months of incarceration. Although it is not legally required to hire an attorney, we highly recommend seeking out the legal counsel of an attorney if you are charged with a misdemeanor. We are often contacted by potential clients who inquire if they need a lawyer, the simple answer is yes. A misdemeanor is a criminal charge and it carries a criminal conviction on your record if you do not establish a proper defense and plan of attack. Potential employers, housing rentals and others who conduct a background check on you can review your criminal history and see if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor. More importantly, many misdemeanors have mandatory jail incarceration for any convictions therein. 

Can a first time Misdemeanor be dismissed in Arizona?

A first-time misdemeanor offense can be dismissed. With an attorney, you may be able to obtain t plea deal from the  prosecutor’s office including a pre-trial diversion or reduced sentence. Most importantly, your attorney will review the case for factual issues and constitutional violations. Often times, those are what may result in a dismissal of your case. Diversion is never a guarantee for first time offenses, in some jurisdictions it is actually difficult to get even for a first offense. 

Navigating a first-time misdemeanor charge in Arizona can be overwhelming, prompting many to wonder if the charge can be dismissed. Hiring an experienced misdemeanor attorney is crucial in this situation. Common first-time offenses in Arizona include certain drug charges, marijuana possession, DUI, alcohol possession by a minor, domestic violence, criminal speeding, reckless driving, extreme DUI, super extreme DUI, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, theft, criminal damage, and assault. Despite the seriousness of these offenses, first-time offenders have options. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney is the first step. 

What are the classes of Misdemeanor in Arizona?

In Arizona, misdemeanors are classified into three main categories based on their severity. 

Class 3 Misdemeanors

The least severe are Class 3 Misdemeanors, carrying a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail, one year of probation, and a $500 fine. 

Class 2 Misdemeanors

Class 2 Misdemeanors can result in up to four months of incarceration, two years of probation, and increased fines. 

Class 1 Misdemeanors

The most serious among misdemeanors are Class 1 misdemeanors, which can lead to up to six months in jail, substantial fines, and and three years of probation. It’s essential to understand the distinctions among these classes when facing a misdemeanor charge in Arizona, as they significantly impact the potential consequences and legal proceedings associated with each offense.

How bad is a Class 1 Misdemeanor in Arizona?

These are the most severe class of misdemeanor in our state. 

Facing a Class 1 Misdemeanor in Arizona can have profound emotional, professional, and long-term consequences. Beyond the immediate stress of legal proceedings, individuals may grapple with heightened emotional distress. Job prospects may be jeopardized as employers often scrutinize criminal records and jail sentences. This can impact your career trajectories. The stigma associated with a Class 1 Misdemeanor conviction can linger, affecting personal relationships and community standing. Moreover, the potential for a lengthy sentence and substantial fines underscores the gravity of such charges, emphasizing the importance of seeking legal guidance to mitigate the far-reaching impacts on one’s life.

How long does a Misdemeanor stay on your record in Arizona?

Misdemeanor offenses, like a felony, will stay on your record indefinitely in Arizona. Unless you go through the process to seal or expunge this record, a background check will show the conviction for life.