Having a felony on your record can negatively impact your life in significant ways. Arizona may classify crimes as Class 6 undesignated felonies, meaning you can potentially have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor after your probation. Keep in mind that your charge will be treated as a felony crime unless and until it’s reduced.
You may also be able to negotiate a reduction to your charge straight away if you have a low-level felony, by working with an attorney. With some felony crimes, a judge may leave it undesignated or reduce it to a misdemeanor at the end of your trial. If you’re interested in doing this, it’s advisable to consult a criminal defense attorney right away.
What to Keep in Mind About Reducing a Felony to a Misdemeanor
- Having a felony crime on your record can severely diminish your opportunities in life
- You may be able to have an undesignated felony reduced to a misdemeanor
- It’s important to check into the reasons why your felony remains undesignated (such as failing to pay your fees)
- The law can be complex, so it’s important that you consult a skilled criminal defense attorney to help with your case
Even if your probation goes well, you shouldn’t assume that you can get your felony designated to a misdemeanor simply because you’ve completed it. Often, an offense is left undesignated due to unfulfilled probation conditions, such as restitution, fees, or fines. When your probation is done, you should check to see whether the crime remains an undesignated felony or has been changed to a misdemeanor.
If your offense is still undesignated, it’s best that you find out why. Check to see whether you’ve fulfilled all the terms, and paid all the fees, restitution, and fines. It’s also important that you fulfill the conditions you were given, so that you can file a motion to get your felony reduced to a misdemeanor.
Having Your Felony Set Aside
Most felony offenses can be set aside under Arizona law, meaning your record will show that you had the crime set aside instead of receiving a conviction. But you must fulfill certain guidelines to meet the eligibility requirements for this, and not all felonies are eligible. The age of the victim can play a role in whether or not the offense may be set aside. Below are some of the offenses that are excluded from this:
- Crimes involving minors younger than 15
- Crimes involving severe physical injury to the victim
- Offenses involving display of a deadly weapon or using a dangerous instrument
- Offenses such as driving with a suspended or cancelled driver’s license
- Certain sexual crimes that require you to go on the sex offender registry
If you’ve been convicted of at least two felonies or sentenced to incarceration, you must wait two years before requesting that the court set aside your felony.
Penalties for Felony Convictions
Felony crimes come with severe consequences, including a permanent criminal record. In addition to fines and prison time, a felony may lead to an increased sentence if you commit another offense later on. You may have trouble getting a professional license, running for office, owning a gun, or finding a job. It’s crucial that you speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you’ve been accused of committing a felony.
Possible Defenses for Felony Crimes
In order to receive a felony conviction, the prosecution must prove that you’re guilty. A skilled attorney may be able to help you construct a defense by showing that you weren’t present at the scene of the crime using irrefutable evidence or an alibi or prove that the actions that led to your charge were unintentional.
In other cases, you may have been accused of assault when you were simply asserting defending yourself from danger. In this case, your defense would focus on showing that you were using your right to protect yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions on Criminal Offenses
Here are some of the most common questions related to criminal offenses:
Q: How does a statute of limitations work?
A statute of limitations places a limit on the length of time you have to begin legal proceedings after a criminal or civil offense occurs. Keep in mind that the amount of time you have to initiate legal action varies based on jurisdiction and the type of offense involved. For example, the medical malpractice statute of limitations allows you two years to sue. If you don’t sue before this deadline, you lose your chance to do so.
Q: What are some examples of common felony crimes?
Class 6 felony crimes include aggravated DUI, resisting arrest, drug paraphernalia possession, marijuana possession, and theft. Class 5 felony offenses can involve criminal damage, credit card theft, and more, while class 4 felonies include forgery, burglary, and aggravated DUI. Class 3 felony offenses may mean aggravated assault and theft of a motor vehicle, class 2 felonies include manslaughter, armed robbery, and child prostitution. The class 1 felony charge is the most serious offense of all and is reserved for murder.
Q: How much prison time do you get for a felony crime?
Class 6 felony crimes may come with up to two years of incarceration, while class 5 felonies may land you in prison for up to 2.5 years. The maximum punishment for class 4 felony crimes is up to 3.75 years of prison time, while a class 3 felony may come with up to 8.75 years of incarceration. Class 2 felonies are punishable by 12.5 years of prison, and class 1 felonies have a maximum penalty of life in prison.
What to Do if You’re Facing Charges
If you’re facing criminal charges or need help getting your felony reduced to a misdemeanor in Arizona, it’s best that you consult a criminal defense attorney. They will be able to listen to the details about your case and advise you on the best course of action. The sooner you speak with a legal professional, the better.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.
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