A Class 4 felony is a type of crime in Arizona. Class 4 felonies are punishable with fines and generally between 1 year and 3 years and 9 months in prison. However, aggravating factors, a criminal background, and certain severe types of offenses can increase the prison sentence to up to 16 years.
1. What is a Class 4 felony in Arizona?
In Arizona, a Class 4 felony is a type of criminal offense.
Like most other states, Arizona’s criminal law has 3 categories of criminal conduct:
- petty offenses,
- misdemeanors, and
All felonies are more severe than misdemeanors, and all misdemeanors are more severe than petty offenses.
Felonies are further divided into 6 classes:
- Class 1 felonies,
- Class 2 felonies,
- Class 3 felonies,
- Class 4 felonies,
- Class 5 felonies, and
- Class 6 felonies.
Class 1 felonies are the most severe. Second-degree murder and first-degree murder are examples of Class 1 felonies. Some convictions can carry the death penalty.
Class 6 felonies are the least severe. An example is the theft of property valued at between $1,000 and $2,000. Class 6 felonies carry between 6 and 18 months in jail.
Class 4 felonies are between these extremes. Non-dangerous Class 4 felonies can come with between 1 year and 3 years and 9 months in jail. Dangerous Class 4 felonies, however, can carry long prison sentences of up to 16 years. To be considered a dangerous offense, the crime had to involve:
- knowingly causing a serious physical injury, or
- using, discharging, or threatening someone with a deadly weapon or some other dangerous instrument.
Class 4 felonies committed against someone under the age of 15 are treated as dangerous crimes against a child. These come with their own set of sentences.
2. What are some examples?
Examples of non-dangerous Class 4 felonies in Arizona include:
- criminal damage,
- third-degree burglary,
- selling unregistered securities,
- falsifying a public record,
- misuse of public monies by an official,
- failing to register as a sex offender or maintain registration,
- bribery, and
- theft of between $3,000 and $4,000.
Examples of dangerous Class 4 felonies can include:
- aggravated driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI),
- misconduct involving weapons,
- robbery, and
3. What are the penalties of a conviction?
Defendants who are convicted for a Class 4 felony will face:
- prison time, and
- up to $150,000 in fines.
The prison time will depend on whether this class of felony was a:
- dangerous offense,
- non-dangerous offense, or
- crime against a child.
The defendant’s criminal history can increase the potential sentence. If the conviction was for a series of repetitive offenses, it can alter the sentences, as well. A repetitive offense is one of a series of disparate crimes that were consolidated for trial.
Each of these types of offense comes with its own sentencing range. The sentencing range has 5 different potential prison terms:
- minimum, and
The court will decide which term to use at the sentencing hearing based on the mitigating or aggravating factors that were present during the offense. These include:
- the use of an accomplice to complete the crime,
- any serious physical injury that was inflicted during the offense,
- the value of any property taken,
- the age of the defendant,
- the defendant’s background and personal character, and
- whether the defendant could fully understand the wrongfulness of his or her actions.
If multiple aggravating factors are proven during the sentencing hearing, then the court can impose a prison sentence that is longer than the maximum term. If there are multiple mitigating factors, then the court’s sentence can be shorter than the minimum term.
This stage of the sentencing process is where having a criminal defense lawyer is critical. See the Arizona felony sentencing chart.
3.1. Sentencing range for non-dangerous Class 4 felonies
Class 4 felonies that are not dangerous offenses come with the following sentencing ranges, based on how many historical prior felony convictions the defendant has:
|Historical prior felony convictions||Mitigated sentence||Minimum sentence||Presumptive sentence||Maximum sentence||Aggravated sentence|
|0||1 year||1 year and 6 months||2 years and 6 months||3 years||3 years and 9 months|
|1||2 years and 3 months||3 years||4 years and 6 months||6 years||7 years and 6 months|
|2 or more||6 years||8 years||10 years||12 years||15 years|
An historical prior felony conviction includes any of the following types of criminal convictions:
- offenses that carry a mandatory prison sentence,
- dangerous offenses,
- dangerous crimes against children,
- aggravated DUIs,
- Class 2 or Class 3 felonies that happened within 10 years of the offense, and
- Class 4, 5, or 6 felonies that happened within 5 years of the offense.
Defendants who were over 18 years old, were tried as an adult, and were convicted for multiple Class 4 felonies in the same case are repetitive offenders in Arizona. Even though their convictions did not technically happen previously, state law will still raise the penalties for successive convictions:
|First offense||1 year||1 year and 6 months||2 years and 6 months||3 years||3 years and 9 months|
|Second offense||1 year||1 year and 6 months||2 years and 6 months||3 years||3 years and 9 months|
|Third and subsequent offenses||2 years and 3 months||3 years||4 years and 6 months||6 years||7 years and 6 months|
3.2. Sentencing range for dangerous offenses
A conviction for a Class 4 felony that was a dangerous offense comes with more prison time. These sentencing ranges do not include a mitigated term or an aggravated term – just a minimum, maximum, and a presumptive term:
|Historical prior felony convictions for a dangerous offense||Minimum||Presumptive||Maximum|
|0||4 years||6 years||8 years|
|1||8 years||10 years||12 years|
|2 or more||12 years||14 years||16 years|
If the defendant has been convicted for multiple Class 4 felonies that are dangerous offenses, they will be sentenced as a repetitive offender for each of them. This counts each offense as a prior felony conviction and raises the prison sentence of the next offense:
|First offense||4 years||6 years||8 years|
|Second offense||6 years||8 years||10 years|
|Third and subsequent offenses||10 years||12 years||15 years|
A conviction for a dangerous Class 4 felony comes with mandatory prison time. Inmates are typically ineligible for:
- a suspended sentence,
- parole, or
- other forms of release.
3.3. Class 4 felonies that are dangerous crimes against children
When a Class 4 felony is committed against a child under the age of 15, it is treated as a dangerous crime against a child. These offenses have their own sentencing range that comes with more prison time.
For example, aggravated assault can be a Class 4 felony that comes with the following sentencing range for first-time offenders:
|4 years||6 years||8 years|
However, if the victim was under 15, Arizona law will treat the offense as a dangerous crime against a child, rather than as a Class 4 felony offense. The sentencing range becomes:
|10 years||17 years||24 years|
4. What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?
A felony is more severe than a misdemeanor. Conduct that amounts to a felony is generally considered to be more egregious or disturbing. As a result, the penalties are higher.
Felonies tend to involve the following types of conduct:
- non-consensual sex,
- serious injuries,
- child victims, and
- deadly weapons.
Because the conduct is more severe, the penalties are harsher. Felonies carry more than a year of prison time for a conviction. Misdemeanor convictions can only carry up to one year in prison. Petty offenses do not carry any jail time.
5. What is the criminal statute of limitations?
The criminal statute of limitations in Arizona depends on the class of crime being charged. For Class 4 felonies, the statute of limitations is 7 years, unless the offense was for a severe criminal case.
Class 4 felonies that are considered serious crimes under the statute of limitations include:
- misuse of public monies, and
- falsification of public records.
Prosecutors can file felony charges for these severe criminal cases at any point after the offense was committed. For all other Class 4 felonies, they have to file the charges within 7 years. If they do not file the criminal charges before the time has expired, a criminal defense attorney can raise the statute of limitations as a defense. If successful, the court will dismiss the charges.
 ARS 13-601(A).
 ARS 13-105(12)-(13).
 ARS 13-801.
 ARS 13-703(A).
 ARS 13-701.
 ARS 13-702 and 13-703.
 ARS 13-105(22).
 ARS 13-703.
 ARS 13-704(A)-(C).
 ARS 13-704(F).
 ARS 13-704(G).
 ARS 13-705(Q)(1).
 ARS 13-705(D).
 ARS 13-107(B)(1).
 ARS 13-107(A).