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Class 3 Felony Crimes in Arizona

Posted on July 1, 2024 in General

Arizona law divides crimes into two main types: less serious crimes are classified as misdemeanors, and more serious crimes are classified as felonies. Felonies carry heavier penalties, like prison time instead of county jail, longer incarceration sentences, and more costly financial penalties.

At the AZ Defenders law firm, we represent clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies. If you are being accused of a criminal offense in the state of Arizona, call us at (480) 456-6400. We are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

This article will cover Class 3 felony crimes in Arizona. We will discuss what a Class 3 felony is, the penalties for a Class 3 felony conviction, and what you can do if you are accused of a Class 3 felony offense.

What is a Class 3 Felony?

A Class 3 felony in Arizona is a mid-level felony, one of six felony offenses. To give you a better idea of how serious Class 3 felonies are compared to the other five felony classes, we will briefly examine them.

You can find a complete list of the classes of felonies under Arizona law here.

How Class 3 Felonies Fit into Arizona Felonies Generally

Of the six categories of Arizona felonies, Class 1 is the most serious, and Class 6 is the least. Here is a brief description of each of the other five felony classes.

An infographic listing different felony classifications.

Class 1 Felony Crimes

Class 1 is reserved for first and second-degree murder charges.

Class 2 Felony Crimes

Class 2 felonies are the most serious you can be accused of, short of murder. Examples of Class 2 felonies are aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of dangerous drugs with intent to sell them, first-degree burglary coupled with the use of a firearm, and sexual assault of a minor.

Class 4 Felony Crimes

Class 4 felonies include possession of narcotic drugs, forgery, robbery, theft valued between $3,000 – $4,000, and some kinds of aggravated assault.

Class 5 Felony Crimes

Class 5 felonies include stalking, credit card theft, criminal damage, credit card fraud over $1,000, and aggravated domestic violence.

Class 6 Felony Crimes

This is the least serious kind of felony charge in Arizona. Class 6 felonies are often called “wobblers” because the judge can reduce them to misdemeanor-level charges.

Types of Arizona Class 3 Felonies

Arizona recognizes more than 40 kinds of Class 3 felony charges. Here are some of them:

  • Discharging a firearm at a non-residential structure
  • Sexual abuse (if the victim is under 15 years of age)
  • Dangerous crimes against children
  • Second-degree burglary
  • Certain types of aggravated assault
  • Transportation and sale of dangerous or narcotic drugs
  • Theft as a means of transportation
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Certain kinds of stalking
  • Threatening or intimidating (certain violations)
  • Possession, use, administration, acquisition, sale, manufacture or transportation of dangerous drugs or narcotic drugs (certain violations)
  • Accidents involving death or personal injuries; failure to stop (certain violations)

See this resource for a complete list of Class 3 felony crimes in Arizona.

Dangerous Versus Non-Dangerous Class 3 Felonies

There are two additional subdivisions in class 3 felonies: non-dangerous crimes and dangerous ones. The basic distinction is that a dangerous offense involves the use or discharge of a firearm, threatening someone with a deadly weapon or other dangerous instruments, or knowingly causing serious physical injury.

A dangerous crime is not eligible for probation, even for a first offense.

Examples of Class 3 dangerous felonies include aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, discharging a firearm at a non-residential building, and attempting to commit a Class 2 felony.

Dangerous Crimes Against Children

If you are charged with a Class 3 dangerous crime in Arizona and the victim is a child, harsher penalties can apply if you are convicted. 

The Statute of Limitations for Class 3 Felonies in Arizona

According to ARS 13-170, the statute of limitations for Class 3 felonies is seven years.

Note that this seven-year statute only runs when the defendant is physically in the state. If he or she leaves the state, the statutory countdown period clock pauses.

Penalties for Class 3 Arizona Felonies

Generally, a conviction for a Class 3 felony can result in a prison sentence of from 2 to 8/75 years. A judge decides on several factors when issuing a sentence. These include whether you have any prior felonies on your record, whether they were for non-dangerous or dangerous offenses, and whether factors exist that mitigate or aggravate the crime.

Mitigating and Aggravating Factors

Each class of felony offense in Arizona sentences includes a five-step sentencing range. From least to most severe, this sentencing range is:

  • Mitigated
  • Minimum
  • Presumptive
  • Maximum
  • Aggravated

Presumptive Sentences

The presumptive sentence serves as the “baseline” for sentencing a first-time offender. The court will consider additional factors that may increase or decrease the duration of the sentence within the minimum to maximum range. Additionally, the court will take into account any mitigating or aggravating factors.

Mitigated Sentences

Mitigating factors that reduce the sentence can include the defendant’s age, whether the defendant was acting under duress, and crimes in which the defendant played only a minor role. General considerations of the defendant’s otherwise good character.

To factor into the sentencing consideration, at least two mitigating factors must be present in the criminal acts charged.

Aggravated Sentences

Aggravating factors are circumstances about the event that increase the seriousness of the crime. These factors sometimes suggest that the maximum sentencing range is insufficient and should increase.

Aggravating factors can include the possession or use of a dangerous weapon or a deadly weapon during the crime, committing a crime with an accomplice, premeditation (for example, “lying in wait” for the victim), and crimes in which the victim dies because of the defendant’s conduct. 

At least two aggravating factors must be present in the criminal acts charged to factor into the sentencing consideration.

Class 3 Felony Sentences for First-Time Offenders

First-time non-dangerous offenders may face the following range of jail time for a Class 3 felony:

  • Mitigated: 2 years
  • Minimum: 2.5 years
  • Presumptive: 3.5 years
  • Maximum: 7 years
  • Aggravated: 8.75 years

Class 3 Felony Sentences for Multiple Prior Felony Convictions

If the defendant has prior felony convictions, this can increase the sentencing range based on how many prior felonies there are:

  • If you have one prior felony, the range increases from three and a quarter years to 16 and a quarter years.
  • With two or more prior felonies, the range increases from seven and a half years up to 25 years.

Contact a Defense Lawyer in Arizona for Help With a Class 3 Felony

Under Arizona laws, even a minimum sentence for a Class 3 felony can cost you years in prison time, hefty fines, and a criminal record that follows you for the rest of your life if you are convicted. When the stakes are this high for you, can you afford not to have a defense attorney who is highly experienced in defending cases involving severe felonies?

At AZ Defenders, our experienced felony attorneys can guide you through the court process and help build the strongest possible defense against any criminal charges you may be facing. We are highly experienced in defending felony criminal cases on behalf of our clients in Phoenix and throughout the entire state of Arizona.If you need legal help with an Arizona Class 3 felony case, contact AZ Defenders today for a free consultation by calling (480) 456-6400.