Classes and sentencing guidelines for felonies in Arizona

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Classes and sentencing guidelines for felonies in Arizona

Felonies come in various forms of severity, called classes. Arizona felony sentencing is determined by these felony classes. 


Arizona Felony Sentencing and Felony Classes

There’s some subtle nuance that comes with each felony classification. Here at Saienni Law, our attorneys understand that the defense changes depending on what class felony our clients are facing. From Class 6 to Class 1 and beyond, we’ve got you covered.


Class 6 Felonies

Class 6 felonies are the least severe felony class. In come cases, according to the judges discretion, a Class 6 felony can be downgraded to a Class 1 misdemeanor, and adjust the sentencing accordingly. 

Examples of Class 6 Felonies in Arizona are:


  • Possession of Marijuana
  • “Severe” Endangerment
  • Unlawful Imprisonment
  • Obtaining utility service fraudulently


Non Dangerous 1st offense Class 6 felonies carry a presumptive sentence of 1 year in prison with a maximum sentence of 1.5 years. Maximum sentences can be increased to aggravated sentences if multiple aggravating factors are present. Aggravating factors are things like use of a deadly weapon, presence of an accomplice, or a particularly malicious or heinous manner in which the offense was committed.


Class 5 Felonies

Class 5 felonies are sort of a “catch-all” felony classification. Any crimes which are designated as felonies, but are not specifically called out in the Arizona legal statutes are automatically considered Class 5 felonies.

Examples of Class 5 Felonies in Arizona are:


  • Public sexual indecency to a minor
  • Credit Card theft or fraud
  • Dog fighting
  • Bigamy


In Arizona a Non Dangerous, 1st Offense Class 5 Felony sentence will generally be 1.5 years in prison, with a maximum of 2 years in prison.


Class 4 Felonies

Not all states have the same felony classifications. Arizona is one of only four states with 6 felony classes. All states have Class 4 felonies, but not all Class 4 felonies carry the same sentences.

Examples of Class 4 felonies in Arizona are:


  • Negligent homicide
  • Robbery
  • Forgery of a credit card
  • Perjury


Felony sentencing for a Non Dangerous, 1st Offense, Class 4 felony in Arizona is a presumptive 2.5 years, with a maximum of 3 years in prison.


Class 3 Felonies

This is where felonies start to get pretty serious. Non Dangerous, 1st Offense Class 3 felonies carry a presumptive sentence of 3.5 years with a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison.

Examples of Class 3 felonies in Arizona are:


  • Telecommunication fraud
  • Counterfeiting election returns
  • Certain Stalking violations
  • Money Laundering (2nd degree)


Class 2 Felonies

As the felony classes get more severe, there are less violations that fall under that class. 

Examples of Class 2 felonies in Arizona are:


  • Manslaughter
  • Drive by Shooting
  • Sexual assault
  • Arson of an occupied structure


The sentencing guidelines for a Non Dangerous, 1st Offense, Class 2 felony in Arizona carries a presumptive sentence of 5 years with a maximum of 10 years in prison.


Class 1 Felonies

Class 1 felonies are the most severe class of felony, and can carry up to life in prison depending on the offence. 

Examples of Class 1 felonies in Arizona are:


  • Second Degree Murder
  • First Degree Murder


Sentencing guidelines for Class 1 felonies don’t follow the typical model. The sentences for First and Second-degree murder are different. Second-degree murder has a presumptive sentence of 16 years in prison, with a maximum of 25 years. First-degree murder carries a presumptive sentence of life in prison without parole, or the death penalty.


Criminal Defense Attorney Representing Clients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and all of Maricopa County

With over 20 years of experience, Joe Saienni has dedicated his entire career to representing those accused of misdemeanors and felonies alike. If you or a loved one are in need of legal representation contact our expert attorneys today.