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Class 5 Felonies in Arizona

Posted on May 31, 2024 in assault & violent crimes

Arizona laws cover a wide range of potential crimes and subsequent punishments. Crimes can vary in severity and are considered either felonies or misdemeanors. Within each of these two main categories, further subcategories exist. Here, we will discuss what a Class 5 felony crime in Arizona is.

No matter what level of crime you might be charged with in Arizona, having a criminal defense attorney like the one you will find at the AZ Defenders law firm can help you understand the charges and your legal rights to defend yourself. To speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, call our office at (480) 248-7666.

Characteristics of Felonies in Arizona

Arizona law has six felony classes. Class 1 is the most serious kind of felony, including crimes like first-degree murder. Class 6 felonies are the least serious and can be considered borderline misdemeanors.

Compare Felonies to Misdemeanors in Arizona

Compared to less serious crimes like misdemeanor offenses, Class 5 felony crimes in Arizona have the following common characteristics with all other classes of felonies:

  • Felony crimes can involve sentences of more than one year. Misdemeanor sentences are usually less than one year.
  • Conviction for a felony offense can result in prison time, while incarceration for a misdemeanor involves time spent in a county jail.

Examples of Class 5 Felonies in Arizona

Arizona statutes include more than 150 specific Class 5 felonies. Some of the more common Class 5 felony examples include:

  • Drug possession
  • Identity fraud
  • Shoplifting
  • Fleeing pursuit by a law enforcement vehicle 
  • Rioting
  • Obstructing a criminal investigation or prosecution

Other Class 5 offenses that may surprise you include human trafficking, maintaining private armed troops, bigamy, promoting gambling, and pandering.

Class 5 Felony Sentencing Ranges

Each felony class in Arizona has multiple sentencing ranges based on the nature and circumstances of the underlying offense. Generally, a felony conviction sentence has a middle or “presumptive” prison term, along with possible minimum and maximum terms.

When determining what sentence to impose, the court may consider mitigating factors that improve a circumstance and aggravating factors that make the circumstances worse. This will inform whether a minimum or maximum sentence is applied.

List of sentencing ranges for class 5 felonies

Presumptive Sentencing Range for a Class 5 Felony

A presumptive sentence usually means that you have no past convictions. For a Class 5 felony, the presumptive sentence includes a prison term of one and one-half to two years. The sentencing court judge can impose a minimum term of as few as six months or a maximum term of three and a half years.

Mitigated Sentencing Factors

Mitigation refers to considerations in the offender’s conduct that weigh in favor of a less severe sentence. Examples of mitigation factors can be:

  • The convicted person’s age
  • The degree of the person’s involvement in the crime
  • Whether the person has expressed any remorse
  • Whether the person was acting under extreme stress
  • Lack of a past criminal record

Aggravated Sentencing Factors and Dangerous Crimes

Aggravating factors weigh in favor of a harsher sentence and can lead to a prison term of up to eight years. 

Aggravating factors like the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument in the commission of the crime or if someone was seriously injured also determine whether a Class 5 felony is considered to be a dangerous crime under Arizona law. Dangerous crimes carry mandatory prison terms and no parole.

Other aggravating factors in a Class 5 felony conviction can be the existence of a conspiracy with others in planning or carrying out the crime and whether the criminal act took place during the commission of another, separate crime.

The Effect of Prior Felony Convictions on Sentencing

The number of past felony convictions you might have can affect the length of your sentence. Here are some guidelines:

  • If you have no prior felonies your first offense sentence falls in the presumptive range of six months to two and one-half years or is probation eligible.
  • If you have one past felony, your prison time ranges from one to three and three-quarter years.
  • If you have two or more felony convictions, the average sentence is three to seven and one-half years.

Other Consequences of a Fifth-Degree Felony Conviction

Aside from time spent in prison, the next most direct effect a Class 5 felony conviction can have on you is financial. When you add together possible financial penalties, court costs and fees, you can find yourself owing as much as $150,000 to the state of Arizona if you are sentenced.

List of fifth-degree felony conviction consequences

Money problems are not the only non-incarceration consequences you can anticipate in the aftermath of a felony conviction. Here are some other long-term issues convicted felons can be encumbered with through a Class 5 felony on their records:

  • A community service requirement
  • Revocation of your Arizona driver’s license
  • Probation (for non-dangerous crimes)
  • A felony offense on your public record
  • Problems obtaining credit
  • Problems obtaining housing
  • Loss of the right to possess weapons
  • Loss of voting rights
  • Deportation from the United States for non-citizens

Statute of Limitations for Class 5 Felonies

A statute of limitations describes the time limit the state of Arizona has to decide whether to charge you with a crime.

For a Class 5 felony, the statute of limitations is seven years from the date of the commission of the alleged criminal act. This time limit can be extended or “tolled” for periods the person suspected of the crime is outside the state of Arizona.

Potential Defenses to a Class 5 Felony Prosecution

Every criminal offense in Arizona has its own elements that the prosecution must prove to obtain a conviction. There are no defense strategies that are unique to Class 5 felony charges.

When looking for a defense law firm to hire, look for experience and expertise in negotiation and defending clients in trial. 

  • An experienced Arizona criminal defense lawyer, like one you will find at AZ Defenders, is skilled at investigating the facts of the alleged crime and analyzing the elements of what you are being charged with. They will also look for weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, such as:
    • A lack of sufficient evidence
    • Improperly obtained evidence
    • Improper handling of evidence in the custody of the prosecution
    • Mistaken identity
    • Mitigating factors

A skillful criminal defense attorney will pursue every possible legal avenue to obtain dismissal of the charges against you or a lessening of charges in plea negotiations. They should always be alert for opportunities to raise objections to the prosecution’s legal theory or trial court tactics to preserve them for an appeal.

If a trial defense becomes necessary, your attorney must do everything possible to secure your acquittal, including presenting an aggressive defense.

Call AZ Defenders to Represent You in Your Class 5 Felony Prosecution

At AZ Defenders law offices, we understand that facing Class 5 Felony charges can be unsettling and frustrating. That is why we give our clients high-caliber legal representation.

Here is what you can expect when our law firm is representing you:

  • Direct access to your Phoenix criminal defense lawyer with white-glove service and personal attention.
  • A thorough, in-depth review of the case against you to identify the areas of weakness that can be exploited for your defense.
  • Access to critical resources, including forensic investigators, private crime scene investigators, and other professional resources, to present evidence to counter testimony from the prosecution’s expert witnesses.
  • A full review of laboratory results, lab processes, past and current lab procedure violations, or errors in the chain of custody of evidence.
  • A review of police conduct is needed to identify rights violations and misconduct.
  • Contacting and interviewing witnesses to support your defense case.

The attorneys and staff at AZ Defenders take our duty to clients seriously and treat all our clients facing criminal charges with respect and compassion. 

Call our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys today at (480) 248-7666 if you are accused of criminal law charges for a Class 5 felony or any other criminal offense in Arizona.Or, if you prefer, you can reach us online to contact an experienced Arizona criminal defense lawyer and to set up an initial consultation to review the charges against you and your options in defense.