In the U.S. criminal justice system, misdemeanors are treated less severely than felonies. If you are charged with a misdemeanor in the Phoenix-Mesa-Gilbert area, you won’t face prison time. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t serious consequences. You could still face jail (not prison) time, probation, fines and fees, and a costly mark on your record and your reputation. Call the Mesa misdemeanor lawyer at Grand Canyon Law Group to help you defend your freedom and your rights.
Arizona divides misdemeanor crimes into three classifications, with Class 1 the most severe.
The three misdemeanor classes under Arizona law include:
In addition to the above listed penalties, courts may also impose:
Other consequences that a person may face upon conviction of a misdemeanor include a permanent record, loss of gun rights, a negative impact on ones’ immigration and legal status, negative impact on one’s professional status and job opportunities, increased insurance rates, and potential loss of child custody rights.
Repeat offenses may result in more severe penalties. For example, if a person faces charges for the same Class 3 offense multiple times, the court can penalize it as though it were a Class 2 offense.
Non-felony crimes, also known as misdemeanors, in Arizona include but are not limited to the following:
Once you face misdemeanor charges, your case will begin working its way through the legal process, which can take several months to complete.
Your court proceedings may include:
The best case scenario is that your attorney will get your case dismissed and the charges will be dropped. However, if this doesn’t happen, another option is to have your attorney attempt to reduce the charges. Often this involves accepting a plea bargain, meaning that you plead guilty to a lesser charge.
You should never feel pressured to accept a plea agreement you do not want. Instead, your attorney will fully explain the terms of the agreement—the downsides as well as the upsides—so that you can make an informed decision as to whether the agreement is in your own best interest.
For certain misdemeanor crimes, you have the option to participate in a diversion program. The program includes education and counseling with the intent of rehabilitation and preventing you from committing other crimes in the future. Your participation in such a program requires approval from the prosecutor.
Upon successful completion of the program, the court will dismiss your case. However, if you fail to complete the program, the court will sentence you according to the terms set forth in your agreement. Your attorney will advise you if such a program is available to you.
Criminal charges create a lot of stress. Even when you face a misdemeanor, you have a lot on the line—your freedom, your finances, and your reputation. At Grand Canyon Law Group, our Mesa misdemeanor lawyers stand by our clients’ sides, and we use our wealth of information and experience of more than 1,000 criminal cases to fight on their behalf.