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class 3 felony in arizona

What Is a Class 3 Felony in Arizona?

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In Arizona, there is a ranking of felonies in classes from 2 to 6. Class 3 felonies fall near the middle, as far as potential sentences are concerned. Class 3 felonies in the state include:

  • Theft of a motor vehicle
  • Aggravated assault
  • Theft
  • Burglary
  • Discharge of a deadly weapon
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Possession of 4 pounds or more of marijuana

First-degree and second-degree murder are the most serious felonies and stand by themselves. However, a conviction for a Class 3 felony could still result in a significant prison sentence.

Minimum and Maximum Sentences

Arizona has a series of presumptive sentencing guidelines for all crimes. For a non-dangerous Class 3 felony, the minimum sentence is 3 ½ years while the maximum sentence is 7 years. It’s important to remember that a skilled defense lawyer may be able to negotiate with authorities to reduce your charge to a less severe felony or to a misdemeanor. Assuming that you are convicted of a Class 3 felony; however, the judge has considerable discretion in the sentencing phase based on any aggravating factors or mitigating factors. The presumptive penalties for felonies are usually chosen by the judge when the defendant has no previous record and there are no aggravating or mitigating aspects to the crime.

Extended Sentences

The potential range of your sentence will be greater if you committed a dangerous crime, generally considered to be one involving violence. For a dangerous Class 3 felony such as aggravated assault, the minimum jumps up to 5 years with a maximum of up to 15 years. If you have prior convictions, or there is at least one aggravating factor in your Class 3 felony case, those are other examples in which the judge has considerable leeway in deciding on a sentence. What are aggravating factors? These include a victim 65 years of age or older, the presence of an accomplice or other issues that a judge determines to be particularly cruel or heinous. For example, two previous convictions in a non-dangerous Class 3 felony case increase the minimum sentence to 10 years and the maximum sentence to 25 years. In a dangerous Class 3 felony case, at least two prior convictions raise the minimum sentence to 15 years and the maximum sentence to 25 years. On the other hand, a Class 3 felony sentence can be reduced to a minimum of 2 years with mitigating factors, which only apply for non-dangerous Class 3 felony cases.

Loss of Rights and Benefits

As soon as you are convicted of a Class 3 felony in Arizona, you should expect to lose the following rights and benefits:

  • Right to vote
  • Hold state office
  • Serve on a jury
  • Right to hold certain jobs requiring state or federal licenses, permits or certificates
  • Buy or possess a firearm

Employment and Housing with a Felony Record

Statistics show that convicted felons have a much tougher time getting and keeping jobs than those without criminal records. In Arizona, employers and landlords can choose to turn you down based solely on your conviction. Arizona does have a number of state and federal programs that are designed to encourage employers to hire convicted felons. Experts say persistence is absolutely necessary when trying to find a job or housing as a convicted felon.

Clearing Your Record

Arizona has no law allowing a person to have a felony conviction expunged or the record of the crime sealed. It is possible to have some felonies “set aside” – a term in Arizona that is fairly close in meaning to expungement. The main difference is that your criminal conviction will always remain on your record. A set aside is not available if the crime involved a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, the victim was 15 or younger or the crime involved the infliction of a serious physical injury. A set aside is only possible when you have completed your sentence and any probation requirements and have filed the proper paperwork in criminal court.

For more information on crimes in the state, see Arizona’s Criminal Code and sentencing information.

The information above is only for educational purposes and is not intended, and should not be used, as legal advice.

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