A Class 3 misdemeanor in Arizona is the most minor of the misdemeanor crimes that one can be convicted of. The only crime lower than this is a petty offense. While many arrested on these criminal charges don’t consider them serious enough to hire legal representation, they still can come with serious penalties, including jail time and fines, not to mention having a mark on your criminal record.
The Phoenix criminal defense attorneys at the Belén Law Firm understand that even a minor offense like a Class 3 misdemeanor can have consequences that can follow an offender for years after their initial sentencing. No crime is “minor” when it can result in a jail sentence, fines, and a criminal record, which is why Belén Olmedo Guerra and her team aggressively fight for their clients regardless of the severity of the charges.
In this blog post, the criminal defense attorneys from the Belén Law Firm explain what crimes are considered Class 3 misdemeanors and how we can help you avoid a possible conviction.
What is a Class 3 Misdemeanor?
A Class 3 misdemeanor is the least serious offense in Arizona compared to Class 1 and 2 misdemeanors. The only crimes that fall below Class 3 misdemeanors are petty offenses. Even though these crimes are not as serious as other misdemeanors and felonies, they should still be taken extremely seriously.
Arizona Class 3 Misdemeanor Offenses
There are a large number of criminal offenses in Arizona that are considered Class 3 misdemeanors. Since that list is so extensive, we’ve listed some of the more common Class 3 misdemeanor crimes below:
- Criminal nuisance
- Excessive speeding
- Bingo violations, unless otherwise specified
- Dumping trash on highways or airports
- Fireworks violations
- Criminal trespassing in the third-degree
- Wildlife habitat protection violations
- Certain types of loitering
- Providing false information, including to a police officer
- Watercraft hit and run (without injuries)
- Failure to stop following an accident involving a parked car
- Altering the serial or identification number of a vehicle
- Department of Health Services violations
- Transporting human remains without a permit
- Industrial sanitation violations
- Fraudulent advertising violations
You can view the entire list of Arizona misdemeanor crimes here.
Penalties for Arizona Class 3 Misdemeanor Offense
While a Class 3 misdemeanor may seem like a minor criminal offense, Arizona law still punishes those found guilty of these crimes with jail time, fines, and other penalties. The punishment for a Class 3 misdemeanor can vary based on the severity of the offense and if the offender has a criminal record.
A first-time offender convicted of a Class 3 misdemeanor can face the following maximum penalties:
- One month in jail
- $500 in fines
- One year of probation
If the offender convicted of a Class 3 misdemeanor has another criminal conviction of the same offense within the last two years, the sentencing can increase to a Class 2 misdemeanor. The maximum punishment for one or more previous convictions of a Class 3 misdemeanor is:
- Four months in jail
- $750 in fines
- Two years of probation
Since Class 3 misdemeanors don’t have mandatory minimum sentences, the ruling judge will determine the offender’s jail time based on the severity of the criminal charges. This allows criminal defense attorneys the chance to plead their case with the judge to receive the minimum sentence for their client.
Additional Consequences One May Face
Class 3 misdemeanor crimes in Arizona can also result in additional consequences for those found guilty. Other consequences following a misdemeanor conviction might include:
- Driver’s license suspension (if the crime involved a motor vehicle)
- Community service
- Mandatory education classes
- Work release
- House arrest
- Drug or alcohol counseling
Individuals convicted of Class 3 misdemeanors can also face collateral consequences of having a mark on their criminal record. Some examples of collateral consequences include:
- Repercussions for those with professional licenses and certifications
- Loss of child custody
- Losing employment or having difficulty getting hired
- Car insurance premium increases if the crime involves speeding or other traffic violations
- For non-citizens, immigration issues
- Failure to qualify for a loan or mortgage
As you can see, there are more consequences for being convicted of Class 3 misdemeanors other than jail, fines, and probation. Many individuals aren’t aware that minor crimes can still carry weight, making living life difficult once the sentence has been served. Even if you don’t think hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney for a misdemeanor offense is worth it, think again.
Other Arizona Misdemeanor Classes
In addition to Class 3 misdemeanors, some crimes in Arizona can be considered Class 1 or Class 2 misdemeanors. Below, we’ll briefly explain the more severe misdemeanor offenses in Arizona.
Class 1 Misdemeanors
In Arizona, a Class 1 misdemeanor is the most serious misdemeanor crime that a person can be charged with. The most common types of Class 1 misdemeanors include prostitution, first-offense DUIs, possession of marijuana (in certain amounts), public sexual indecency, shoplifting (valued under $1,000), and assault causing physical injury.
The penalties one could face following conviction of a Class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona is jail time for up to six months, maximum fines of $2,500, and up to a three-year probationary sentence. It’s important to note that those penalties can change based on the severity of the offense and the person’s criminal record.
Class 2 Misdemeanors
Class 2 misdemeanors are crimes considered less severe than Class 1 but more serious than Class 3 misdemeanors. Common Class 2 misdemeanors include reckless driving, hit-and-runs, public nuisance crimes, and second-degree criminal trespassing.
If convicted of a Class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona, an individual could face up to four months in jail, $750 in fines, and up to two years of probation. Those penalties can also vary depending on the offender’s prior convictions and the crime.
How Belén Law Can Help Fight Your Misdemeanor Charge
Many individuals will try to save money and forgo legal representation when facing a possible Class 3 misdemeanor conviction. Unfortunately, this often backfires, and they typically end up serving at least some jail time for their crime due to a lack of understanding of how the legal system works.
While this criminal offense is the least severe of the misdemeanors, an attorney like Belén Olmedo Guerra understands the intricacies of the Arizona legal system and knows what it takes to help her clients achieve the best possible outcome. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Arizona increases your chances of having your charges lowered, dropped, or dismissed.
Contact a Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney at Belén Law Firm ASAP
Those facing conviction for a Class 3 misdemeanor may not think that the offense requires legal counsel. However, the penalties that follow if found guilty go much further than jail time and fines. Having a crime on your record can make simple things in life much more difficult, like buying a home or working at your dream job. Unfortunately, society sees anyone with a criminal record as a criminal, no matter the severity of their crime.
When facing a possible Class 3 misdemeanor conviction, you need experienced legal counsel who will strongly fight for your rights. At the Belén Law Firm, our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys aggressively fight for each of our clients’ rights, whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony offense. We believe that everyone has the right to experienced legal representation, and we are here to provide it.