Arizona Felony Charges, Classes & Penalties

In the state of Arizona, felonies are serious charges. The law categorizes felonies into six classes, each with possible penalties and implications. From the most dangerous felony, Class 1, encompassing crimes like first-degree murder, to Class 6 Felonies, considered the least severe, understanding these classifications is important to creating an effective defense.


With over 14 years of experience in the legal system, Arizona criminal defense attorney Josh Kolsrud has an extensive background in defending clients with felony charges. His unique perspective stems from his position as a former prosecutor, handling over 3,500 cases and giving him insight into both sides of the law.


Whether facing a Class 1 or Class 6 Felony, Attorney Kolsrud's well-rounded expertise is an invaluable asset in pursuing justice and fair treatment in the Arizona legal system.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

Felony Charges in Arizona

What are Felony crimes In Arizona?

A felony in Arizona is a criminal offense with a more severe penalty than a misdemeanor. It often involves a higher level of harm or threat to society, and as such, the legal system treats these offenses with particular gravity.


A felony is characterized by the potential for a prison sentence exceeding one year, fines, probation, and other serious consequences. Unlike misdemeanors, felonies in Arizona encompass a broader range of offenses, including:


    • Violent Crimes:  Such as Murder, assault, robbery, and sexual assault.
    • Property Crimes: Including burglary, arson, and auto theft.
    • Drug Crimes: Such as drug trafficking, manufacturing, and possession of illegal substances in significant quantities.
    • White-Collar Crimes: Including embezzlement, fraud, and identity theft.
Different Class Types of Felony Charges

How are Felony Convictions Different from Misdemeanors?

Misdemeanors charges are lesser offenses, typically involving less harm or threat to a society defined by Arizona Revised Statue (ARS § 13-707).


Misdemeanors are classified into three classes, with Class 1 misdemeanors carrying the harshest penalties. Common examples include DUI, shoplifting, or disorderly conduct.


  • Class 1 Misdemeanors: A class 1 misdemeanor conviction can come with a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
  • Class 2 Misdemeanors:  Class 2 convictions can result in up to 4 months in jail and a $750 fine.
  • Class 3 Misdemeanors: Class 3 misdemeanors are the least severe punishable by Up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.


The differences between felonies and misdemeanors in Arizona are most prominent in the penalties and legal processes:


  • Penalties: Felonies carry more severe penalties, including long-term imprisonment (potentially life or death penalty for Class 1 felonies), fines, probation, and parole. Misdemeanors convictions, on the other hand, usually result in shorter jail terms, smaller fines, or community service.


  • Legal Process: Felonies often require a more complicated legal process, including preliminary hearings, grand jury indictments, and a formal trial. Misdemeanors generally involve a simpler process, with some cases resolved in a matter of months.


Although Misdemeanors may be minor offenses in Arizona compared to felonies and have a less damaging effect on an individual's long-term prospects, they can still have significant impacts depending on the nature of the offense and the individual's personal and professional circumstances.


 If you find yourself charged with either a felony or misdemeanor. The skilled legal team at Kolsrud Law Offices can provide the expert guidance and representation needed to navigate Arizona's criminal justice system. Our knowledge of Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) Title 13 and extensive experience in handling both felony and misdemeanor cases ensures that we can develop a defense strategy tailored to your situation.

Classes of Felonies in Arizona

In Arizona, felony offenses are categorized into 6 classes of felonies, with Class 1 being the most serious and Class 6 being the least severe felony. This classification is critical to understanding the potential penalties and legal implications of a felony charge.


Below, we'll explore each class and relevant examples, referring to the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) that govern them.


  • 1

    Class 1

    Class 1 felonies are a serious charges in Arizona, such as

  • 2

    Class 2

     A Class 2 felony in Arizona Includes crimes like

    • Sexual Assault: Engaging in sexual intercourse without consent ARS §13-1406 
    • Manslaughter: Recklessly causing the death of another person ARS §13-1103
    • Child Molestation: Sexual conduct with a child under the age of 15 ARS § 13-1410
  • 3

    Class 3

     Class 3 felonies are crimes such as

    • Armed Robbery: Using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument in committing robbery ARS § 13-1904.
    • Aggravated Assault: Causing serious physical injury or using a deadly weapon during an assault ARS § 13-1204.
    • Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct that causes fear of physical injury, death, or sexual conduct ARS § 13-2923.
  • 4

    Class 4

    Class 4 felonies include offenses like

    • Third-Degree Burglary: Breaking into a commercial building with intent to commit theft or felony ARS § 13-1506.
    • Felony DUI: Driving under the influence with prior convictions or a child in the car ARS § 28-1383.
    • Forgery: Creating or using a forged document with intent to defraud ARS § 13-2002.
  • 5

    Class 5

    Class 5 felonies include crimes such as

  • 6

    Class 6

    Class 6 is the least severe, encompassing crimes like

    • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia: Using or possessing equipment for drug-related purposes ARS § 13-3415.
    • Theft: Unlawfully taking another's property valued between $1,000 and $2,000 ARS § 13-1802.
    • Resisting Arrest: Intentionally preventing or attempting to prevent an arrest ARS § 13-2508.

Arizona's classification of felonies offers a structured framework that reflects the perceived severity and social harm of various offenses. Understanding the specific crimes within each class and the related legal statutes can be essential in developing a defense strategy.


If you or a loved one are charged with a felony offense, the legal team at Kolsrud Law Offices is well-versed in Arizona's complex felony laws. Our dedicated criminal defense attorneys can analyze the specific charges, consider all relevant legal statutes, and work diligently to protect your rights and interests.

Penalties for felony convictions

The penalties for felony convictions in Arizona vary widely depending on the class of the felony, the nature of the crime, prior criminal history, and specific circumstances of the case. In addition to imprisonment, fines, and probation, long-term consequences can persist beyond immediate legal penalties.


The consequences of a felony conviction can result in:


  • 1

    Class 1

    • Conviction of a class 1 felony can result in the death penalty or life imprisonment for offenses like first-degree murder
    • (ARS § 13-1105).

  • 2

    Class 2

    • Class 2 felonies can result in 4 to 10 years of prison, extending to 35 years with aggravating factors
    • (ARS § 13-702).

  • 3

    Class 3

    • A class 3 conviction is punishable by 2.5 to 7 years in prison, with potential extensions for prior convictions
    • (ARS § 13-702).

  • 4

    Class 4

    • Class 4 convictions are punishable by 1.5 to 3 years in prison, depending on circumstances
    • (ARS § 13-702).

  • 5

    Class 5

    • Being convicted of a class 5 felony can result in 0.75 to 2 years in prison under 
    • (ARS § 13-702).

  • 6

    Class 6

    •  If you are convicted of a class 6 felony, prison time can range from 0.33 to 1.5 years, or probation in some instances
    • (ARS § 13-702).

Fines and restitution may be imposed upon conviction of felonies in Arizona. Fines vary based on the class of felony, ranging from $150,000 for a Class 1 felony to $1,000 for a Class 6 felony. Convicted individuals may also be required to pay restitution to victims to compensate for financial loss or damages. 


For some felonies, particularly Class 6, probation may be an alternative to imprisonment, and courts may order community service as part of the sentence or probation.


Felony convictions in Arizona can also lead to the loss of certain civil rights and privileges, such as voting rights during imprisonment, prohibition on owning or possessing firearms, and potential revocation or suspension of professional licenses.


Additionally, non-citizens convicted of certain felonies may face deportation or denial of naturalization under federal law.


The potential penalties for an Arizona felony are multi-faceted and far-reaching. They can include substantial prison time, hefty fines, loss of rights, and ongoing legal consequences that impact personal and professional life.

Statute of limitations in Arizona

Statute of Limitations in Arizona

The statute of limitations refers to the time period within which legal proceedings must be initiated for a specific offense. In the context of felonies in Arizona, the statute of limitations varies according to the type and class of felony, and certain exceptions may apply. Below, we will explore the general guidelines and specific provisions as outlined in the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS § 13-107).

General Statute of Limitations for Felonies

  • Class 1 Felonies: No statute of limitations for first-degree murder 
  • Class 2 to Class 6 Felonies: Typically, 7 years from the date of the offense 

Exceptions and Special Provisions

  • Child Sexual Abuse: No statute of limitations if the victim is under 18 at the time of the offense 
  • Fraudulent Schemes: The statute of limitations is extended to 7 years after discovery of the offense 
  • DNA Evidence: If DNA evidence identifies a suspect, the statute of limitations may be extended 
  • Identity Theft: Prosecution must commence within 7 years after discovery 
  • Active Concealment: If the accused has actively concealed the crime, the time for commencing prosecution may be extended 


 Around 15% of felony cases in Arizona are dismissed or not prosecuted, and in some instances, the statute of limitations may play a role in these dismissals.


The experienced legal team at Kolsrud Law Offices is well-versed in the intricacies of the statute of limitations for felonies in Arizona. We understand the Arizona Revised Statutes and how they apply to different felony classes and situations.


If you or a loved one are facing felony charges or have concerns about the statute of limitations, give us a call immediately. Our expertise ensures your rights are protected, and your legal interests are pursued. Whether evaluating the timing of prosecution, assessing potential exceptions, or navigating the complex Arizona laws, our commitment to excellence makes us a top choice for felony defense attorneys in Arizona.

Why Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Understanding the various classes of felony charges in Arizona and the mitigating and aggravating factors that influence sentencing is essential for anyone involved in the legal process. Whether a Class 2 Felony or a Class 6 Felony, the Arizona Revised Statutes provide a comprehensive framework to guide the legal process. The statistics reflecting the prevalence and outcomes of these charges highlight the importance of expert legal representation in navigating these complex matters.

At  Kolsrud Law Offices,  Josh and his team are committed to providing clients with the informed, strategic, and individualized defense they need. Whether you are convicted of a class 1 felony or a class 6, as one of Arizona's premier criminal defense firms, we fully recognize the impact that criminal offenses in Arizona, including felony and misdemeanor charges, can have on a person's life.


We focus on working diligently within the legal framework to achieve the best possible outcome for each client. By understanding the specific offenses and potential penalties for felonies and misdemeanors, as well as applicable Arizona laws, our approach ensures that our client's rights are protected.

Contact us today to schedule
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An award-winning criminal defense attorney Since 2006

Why Choose Josh Kolsrud

With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication



Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients



Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.



As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort

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