A misdemeanor criminal offense is a crime that may be punishable up to 6 months in jail.
Courts of Limited Jurisdiction. It is an offense that is less serious than a felony and does not involve prison, but it may have some serious professional and personal consequences if convicted.
Types of Misdemeanor Offenses.
Some common Misdemeanors include the following types of offenses:
- Theft (Less than $1,000.00)
- Theft of Services
- Disorderly Conduct
- Criminal Damage
- Domestic Violence
- False Reporting to a Police Officer
- Driving on a Suspended License
- Driving Under the Influence (a.k.a. DUI, Drunk Driving, DWI)
- Minor Drug Offenses (Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia)
- Driving with an Open Container
- Criminal Speeding
- Racing on a Highway
These offenses are generally considered minor wrongdoing compared to more serious Felony Offenses. Misdemeanor offenses often can affect people from all walks of life.
“I Have Been Charged With a Misdemeanor, Now What?“
Professional Consequences of a Misdemeanor
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor criminal offense your ability to find employment may be impacted severely.
Most employers ask potential job applicants if they have been convicted of any offense. An applicant who answers truthfully would have to affirmatively disclose that conviction.
Some jobs and careers require professional licenses. Many of these professions in Arizona require a Finger Print Clearance Card pursuant to A.R.S. 41-1758.03. These professions include:
- Real Estate Brokers and Agents
- Military Recruits
- Law Enforcement Trainees
Many of these licensing boards require disclosure of offenses at the application and renewal process or have a continuing duty to disclose an offense committed while licensed.
Some colleges and universities require disclosure of any prior crimes. A criminal conviction may prohibit admission or eligibility for financial aid.
Punishment Range for Arizona Misdemeanor Crimes
A misdemeanor crime is a less serious offense than a felony crime. Misdemeanor crimes are different than felonies because they are not punishable by prison, but may still be punishable with jail time. Some criminal offenses are similar to felony offenses (such as theft, and assault) but the classification of the offense is determined by the extent of harm or loss suffered by the victim. Arizona has three classes of misdemeanors. An Arizona misdemeanor can be punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a maximum base $2,500 fine. A petty offense is a type of misdemeanor but is punishable with no jail and a maximum $300 fine.
Possible Penalties for Arizona Misdemeanors
- Class 1 Misdemeanors are punishable by up to 6 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.
- Class 2 Misdemeanors are punishable by up to 4 months in jail and up to
- Class 3 Misdemeanors are punishable by up to 30 days in jail.
- Petty Offense is punishable with no jail, and up to a $300 fine.
See Arizona Revised Statutes 13-707 and 13-802.
Class 1 Misdemeanors
Class 1 misdemeanors are some of the most common crimes that defendants get charged and arrested for. Class 1 misdemeanors include physical assault (causing injury), crimes of domestic violence including disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana (if cited by a police officer), theft of property under $1,000, shoplifting, and driving under the influence.
Class 2 Misdemeanors
Class 2 misdemeanors include such crimes as criminal speeding, criminal damage of property less than $250, non-physical assault placing someone in fear of imminent physical harm (no physical injury)
Class 3 Misdemeanors
Class 3 misdemeanors include such crimes as an assault by offensively touching someone, violation of promise to appear, loitering, criminal nuisance, and adultery.
Petty offenses include such crimes as scalping, furnishing, or possession of tobacco to or by a minor, and unlawful feeding of wildlife.
Why You Should Hire An Attorney For a Misdemeanor Case.
Being convicted of a misdemeanor offense could have some serious consequences even if they are less serious than a felony conviction. If convicted of a misdemeanor in Arizona, it can still be part of your permanent record. There is no “expungement” or “sealing” of criminal records in Arizona. Being convicted of a misdemeanor could result in being barred from licensing in some professions such as teaching, real estate, and nursing. Having certain prior misdemeanor convictions could result in greater punishment if previously convicted of similar prior convictions. A misdemeanor conviction could be punished with significant jail time and/or a fine.
Hiring an experienced criminal lawyer can help determine whether there are any defenses or reasons for the dismissal of any misdemeanor charges. A criminal attorney can help negotiate any possible plea agreements at a pretrial conference or represent you at a bench or jury trial in the municipal or justice court. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know the local court system and can assess possible outcomes in court or with local prosecuting agencies and can advise you on the best course of action.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor you will immediately face some personal consequences.
- Mandatory Counseling – You may be ordered to be placed in counseling for drug, anger management, domestic violence, or moral recognition counseling.
- Immigration Rights – If you are not a citizen of the Immigration Consequences United States, being found guilty of a crime may impact your immigration rights to apply for citizenship or remain in the United States legally and be deported.
- Right to Possess Fiream– Under Federal Law if you are convicted of any domestic violence offense your right to possess or purchase a firearm will be revoked.
- Probation -You may be placed on probation if convicted of a misdemeanor offense. You must report to a probation officer on a regular basis if ordered on supervised probation.
For more information about Arizona criminal law, Arizona criminal courts, and the criminal process, or to discuss your criminal charges with an experienced criminal defense attorney, please call us at 928-753-6868, email us or fill out the case evaluation form on our Contact Us Page. Let the Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp and our attorneys help you!