Felony Sentencing Guidelines in Arizona

In Arizona, there are many different levels of criminal offenses that have a wide range of punishments associated with them. There are two major categories of crimes, felonies and misdemeanors. Each has different levels, or classes, within each. There are also different categories associated with repeat offenders for each class of felony or misdemeanor. In addition to that, there are several special circumstances and unique sentencing provisions that may or may not apply to your case.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor offense in Arizona, it is critical to hire an experienced attorney that will fight for you. Here at the Cates Garvey Law Group, we have years of experience handling cases involving the lowest level misdemeanors to the most severe felonies. Mr. Cates is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a Specialist in Criminal Law and has over 20 years of experience in handling cases of all types. In addition, Ryan Garvey, the managing partner of Cates Garvey, has 20 years of experience in standing up for the rights of the accused. The Cates Garvey Law Group has a strong team of attorneys that have experience in fighting cases in all 15 counties in Arizona. We are aggressive at mounting defenses and strategies to help you fight any allegation. Do not waste your time talking to salespeople who are not licensed attorneys. At the Cates Garvey Law Group, we offer free, and confidential, 30-minute consultations with licensed attorneys to help answer your questions. Please call (855) 965-4522 to schedule a consultation today.

For more information regarding sentencing laws in Arizona, please read below. Please keep in mind that this information is designed to be used for general knowledge purposes, and not for legal advice. Please consult with a licensed attorney regarding any sentencing possibilities and issues in your case.

FELONY CONVICTIONS

A felony offense is an offense that is punishable by one year, or more, in the State Prison. There are certain situations that allow a person to get less than one year in prison for a felony offense (discussed below). Felonies in Arizona are put into “classes.” These classes can be viewed as levels. The lower the class number, the more severe the punishments can be. For example, a class 5 felony is not a severe as a class 2 felony.
There are also mandatory increased punishments for people who are considered a repetitive offender as well as cases involving an allegation of “Dangerousness” and other special circumstances (Discussed more below).
To better understand the sentencing charts for each category, a person needs to understand what the terms at the top of the charts mean. The “presumptive” term is the starting point for the Court at sentencing. The court is free to move the sentence upwards or downwards within the ranges in the charts, but the Court needs a legal reason to move the sentence off the “presumptive” term.
This is where aggravating and mitigating factors play a role in the case. Aggravating factors are any factors that would tend to increase a sentence. These typically include committing crimes for financial gain, multiple victims in a case, the crime was completed with an accomplice, or a weapon was involved, plus many more. The factors are alleged by the prosecutor to try and increase a person’s sentence.
Mitigating factors are the opposite. These are factors that defense attorneys allege to try and get the Court to decrease the sentence. These factors include family support, age, acceptance of responsibility, remorse and many others.
At sentencing, a judge will weigh and balance these factors against each other to determine the appropriate sentence. If the judge finds that the mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating factors, the judge can now legally move the sentence under the presumptive term. If the judge finds that the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors, the judge can now legally move the sentence higher than the presumptive term.
For a judge to impose the “Aggravated” term, the Court must find that at least two aggravating factors were proven by the prosecutor, and that those aggravating factors substantially outweigh any mitigation. In other words, the judge must believe that the aggravation is so strong that the Aggravated sentence is the only sentence that makes sense. The same is true for the “Mitigated” term on the chart. The judge must find that the mitigation presented in the case is so strong it substantially outweighs any aggravation in the case. The “Aggravated” and “Mitigated” sentences are very rare, and usually are imposed in very narrow situations.

Non-Dangerous; Non-Repetitive Offenses (First Felony Conviction)

The first major area of felony sentencing laws is found in A.R.S. § 13-702 and deals with first time felony offenses. A person who has been charged with a first time, non-dangerous felony is eligible for probation in most situations. In addition, all first time, non-dangerous felony convictions that result in prison are eligible for release after serving 85% of the sentence.
For first-time, non-dangerous felonies, the sentencing chart found in A.R.S. § 13-702(D) has many different numbers listed for each class of felony. That table looks like this:

Mitigated

Minimum

Presumptive

Maximum

Aggravated

Class 2

3 years

4 years

5 years

10 years

12.5 years

Class 3

2 years

2.5 years

3.5 years

7 years

8.75 years

Class 4

1 year

1.5 years

2.5 years

3 years

3.75 years

Class 5

.5 years

.75 years

1.5 years

2 years

2.5 years

Class 6

.33 years

.5 years

1 year

1.5 years

2 years

Most non-dangerous and non-repetitive felony offenses are probation eligible. This means that a court can decide to not put a person in prison but can place them under the supervision of the adult probation department to make sure they follow the rules and remain law abiding. Each class of felony has a maximum amount of probation that can be imposed.

  • Class 2 felony: Maximum of 7 years on probation
  • Class 3 felony: Maximum of 5 years on probation
  • Class 4 felony: Maximum of 4 years on probation
  • Class 5 felony: Maximum of 3 years on probation
  • Class 6 felony: Maximum of 3 years on probation

Judges are also free to impose a jail sentence as a term of a person’s probation. This happens when a judge, or a prosecutor, believes that the person should not go to prison for their conduct, but they should be punished with time in the county jail before being put on probation. A judge can impose up to one year in the county jail as a term of probation, although it is not common to see a full year in jail imposed for first time, non-violent offenses.

Repetitive, Non-Dangerous Felony Convictions

A repetitive felony conviction is any second, or more, felony conviction by a single person. The repetitive offender sentencing charts are found in A.R.S. § 13-703. If a person is convicted of a repetitive felony, their punishments fall into a different sentencing chart. Under this section, there are three separate categories of “repetitive” offenders: Category 1; Category 2; and Category 3. The category depends on the number of historical prior felonies a person has, as well as dates of offense and other factors. Category 3 is the highest and contains punishments that are significantly increased from the first time offender chart above. The charts for Categories 1,2, and 3 are below.

  • Category 1 Repetitive. Non-Dangerous Chart

Mitigated

Minimum

Presumptive

Maximum

Aggravated

Class 2

4.5 years

6 years

9.25 years

18.5 years

23 years

Class 3

3.25 years

4.5 years

6.5 years

13 years

16.25 years

Class 4

2.25 years

3 years

4.5 years

6 years

7.5 years

Class 5

1 year

1.5 years

2.25 years

3 years

3.75 years

Class 6

.75 years

1 year

1.75 years

2.25 years

2.75 years

Category 1 are the exact same punishment ranges that you will find in the first-time offender chart with one major difference. All Category 1 offenses are not probation eligible. That means that if you are convicted under Category 1, you are in a mandatory prison situation. Consult with an attorney from the Cates Garvey Law Group to determine if your case falls within Category 1.

  • Category 2 Repetitive, Non-Dangerous Chart

Mitigated

Minimum

Presumptive

Maximum

Aggravated

Class 2

4.5 years

6 years

9.25 years

18.5 years

23 years

Class 3

3.25 years

4.5 years

6.5 years

13 years

16.25 years

Class 4

2.25 years

3 years

4.5 years

6 years

7.5 years

Class 5

1 year

1.5 years

2.25 years

3 years

3.75 years

Class 6

.75 years

1 year

1.75 years

2.25 years

2.75 years

The Category 2 chart sees a major increase in incarceration time for all offense classes. All Category 2 offenses are not eligible for probation. That means that if you are convicted under Category 2, you are in a mandatory prison situation. The offenses in this category are eligible for earned release credits after serving 85% of their sentence. Consult with an attorney from the Cates Garvey Law Group to determine if your case falls within Category 2.

  • Category 3 Repetitive, Non-Dangerous Chart

Mitigated

Minimum

Presumptive

Maximum

Aggravated

Class 2

10.5 years

14 years

15.75 years

28 years

35 years

Class 3

7.5 years

10 years

11.25 years

20 years

25 years

Class 4

6 years

8 years

10 years

12 years

15 years

Class 5

3 years

4 years

5 years

6 years

7.5 years

Class 6

2.25 years

3 years

3.75 years

4.5 years

5.75 years

The highest category for non-dangerous offenses is Category 3. In this category, you can clearly see the prison time is exponentially increased from the first-time offenders chart. This category is reserved for people who have been convicted of at least two (2) historical prior felony convictions. There is a long list of things that can make a felony “historical.” The offenses in this category are eligible for earned release credits after serving 85% of their sentence. Consult with an attorney from the Cates Garvey Law Group to determine historical prior felony convictions that may or may not be on your record, as well as to determine if your case falls into the Category 3 chart.

Dangerous Offenses

The remaining charts discussed on this page will be the charts for dangerous felonies. The dangerous felony offense charts can be found in A.R.S. § 13-704. In Arizona, a felony can be either dangerous or non-dangerous. That depends on the facts of the case. If a prosecutor believes that the offense falls into the dangerous category, they will file an allegation of dangerous along with the underlying charge. That takes the case from the non-dangerous side (even for first-time offenders) and moves it into a completely different category. For the dangerous offenses, the “mitigated” and “aggravated” sections of the sentencing ranges are removed. Also, a person is not eligible for probation if convicted of a dangerous offense. Convictions for dangerous offenses often will get a person sent to a maximum, or high security prison facility. The offenses in this category are eligible for earned release credits after serving 85% of their sentence.

Dangerous, Non-Repetitive Felony Offense (First Dangerous Conviction)

Minimum

Presumptive

Maximum

Class 2

7 years

10.5 years

21 years

Class 3

5 years

7.5 years

15 years

Class 4

4 years

6 years

8 years

Class 5

2 years

3 years

4 years

Class 6

1.5 years

2.25 years

3 years

Dangerous, Repetitive Felony Offense

At this point, the Repetitive dangerous offense gets split up based on the class of current dangerous conviction and the amount of historical, prior felonies involving dangerous offenses. If the person is convicted of a dangerous felony that is either a Class 4, 5 or 6, AND the person has one historical and dangerous felony offense, the sentencing chart is as follows:

Minimum

Presumptive

Maximum

Class 4

8 years

10 years

12 years

Class 5

4 years

5 years

6 years

Class 6

3 years

3.75 years

4.5 years

If a person has two or more historical prior felonies involving dangerous offenses, AND is convicted of a class 4, 5 or 6 dangerous offense, the sentencing chart looks like this:

Minimum

Presumptive

Maximum

Class 4

12 years

14 years

16 years

Class 5

6 years

7 years

8 years

Class 6

4.5 years

5.25 years

6 years

If the person is convicted of a Class 2 or 3 felony involving a dangerous offense, AND has one historical prior felony conviction that is a Class 1, 2 or 3 felony involving a dangerous offense, the sentencing chart looks like this:

Minimum

Presumptive

Maximum

Class 2

14 years

15.75 years

28 years

Class 3

10 years

11.25 years

20 years

If the person is convicted of a class 2 or 3 felony involving a dangerous offense, AND they have two or more historical prior felony convictions that are class 1, 2 or 3 felonies involving dangerous offenses, the sentencing chart looks like this:

Minimum

Presumptive

Maximum

Class 2

21 years

28 years

35 years

Class 3

15 years

20 years

25 years

There are many other sentencing laws that involve more specific crimes and other issues. When dealing with calculating a potential sentence, always consult with an experienced professional at the Cates Garvey Law Group. We navigate these waters every day, and have a comprehensive understanding of the sentencing laws in Arizona. Give us a call today for a free, confidential 30-minute consultation. We have attorneys standing by 24/7 to help you.