A Class 6 felony is the least severe class of felony in the state of Arizona. Convictions generally come with between 4 months and 2 years in prison, though some factors can increase the sentence to up to 6 years. Class 6 felonies may also be charged or treated as misdemeanors.
1. What is a Class 6 felony?
Class 6 felonies are a type of crime in Arizona.
Arizona is like most other states in that it uses 3 categories for criminal offenses:
- petty offenses,
- misdemeanors, and
Petty offenses are the least severe and do not carry any jail time for a conviction. Misdemeanors are more severe, and carry up to a year in prison. Felonies are the most severe, with convictions potentially carrying more than a year behind bars.
Felonies are further classified into:
- Class 1 felonies,
- Class 2 felonies,
- Class 3 felonies,
- Class 4 felonies,
- Class 5 felonies, and
- Class 6 felonies.
The most severe are Class 1 felonies. These include second-degree murder and first-degree murder, which can carry the death penalty in Arizona.
Class 6 felonies are the least severe of all felony-level offenses. They typically carry between 4 months and 2 years in prison. However, the penalties can increase if:
- the crime was a dangerous one,
- the conviction was for a dangerous crime against a child,
- the conviction was for a series of repetitive offenses,
- there were aggravating factors, or
- the defendant has a criminal history.
The penalties can also decrease if there are mitigating factors.
Class 6 felonies are also known as “wobblers” because prosecutors can pursue them as either a felony-level offense or as a misdemeanor. Judges can also choose to designate the sentence as a Class 1 misdemeanor rather than for a Class 6 felony, or can leave the sentence undesignated pending probation.
2. What are some examples?
Some examples of Class 6 felony offenses in Arizona include:
- aggravated boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
- aggravated assault after breaking and entering,
- unlawful imprisonment,
- indecent exposure to someone under 15,
- sexual conduct with a minor over the age of 15,
- criminal damage that causes between $250 and $2,000 of losses,
- theft of property valued between $1,000 and $2,000,
- possession of fewer than 2 pounds of marijuana, and
- attempting to commit a Class 5 felony.
3. What are the penalties?
The penalties for a conviction for a Class 6 felony in Arizona include:
- court costs,
- a fine of up to $150,000, plus additional fines if the offense was related to drugs, and
- prison time.
Arizona law uses a sentencing range to determine the prison sentence for a Class 6 felony. There are often 5 potential state prison terms in a sentencing range:
- mitigated term,
- presumptive term,
- maximum, and
- aggravated term.
In some cases, there are only 3 potential sentences: A minimum, a presumptive, and a maximum.
Which term in a sentencing range is used will depend on whether there were any mitigating or aggravating factors present in the offense. A few of these factors include:
- the defendant’s age,
- the defendant’s background and personal character,
- whether there were any serious injuries,
- if property was taken during the offense, the value of the property,
- whether the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon or wore body armor, and
- the age of the victim.
At the sentencing hearing, a criminal defense attorney can work to show that there were multiple mitigating factors at play during the offense. This can lead to the court imposing a prison sentence shorter than the minimum. If the prosecutor proves multiple aggravating factors, though, the prison term can be longer than the maximum. See our Arizona felony sentencing chart.
There are several sentencing ranges for Class 6 felonies, though. Which sentencing range is used will depend on whether the:
- offense was a dangerous crime,
- defendant has any historical prior felony convictions,
- offense was for a series of repetitive offenses, and
- victim of the crime was under 15, making it a dangerous crime against a child.
To be a historical prior felony conviction that can change the sentencing range, the prior conviction can be for:
- aggravated driving under the influence (DUI),
- a dangerous offense,
- a dangerous crime against children,
- a crime that carried a mandatory prison term,
- a Class 2 or 3 felony that happened under 10 years before the offense, or
- a Class 4, 5, or 6 felony that happened under 5 years before the offense.
To be a repetitive offense, the defendant must have been tried as an adult, be over 18 years old, and have been convicted for multiple Class 6 felonies at the same time.
3.1 Non-dangerous offenses
Class 6 felonies that are non-dangerous offenses are those that did not involve:
- serious physical injuries that were knowingly caused by the defendant, or
- using, discharging, or threatening the victim with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
The sentencing ranges for these non-dangerous offenses depend on the defendant’s criminal history. The possible outcomes are:
|Number of historical prior felony convictions||Mitigated sentence||Minimum sentence||Presumptive sentence||Maximum sentence||Aggravated sentence|
|0||4 months||6 months||1 year||1 year and 6 months||2 years|
|1||9 months||1 year||1 year and 9 months||2 years and 3 months||2 years and 9 months|
|2 or more||2 years and 3 months||3 years||3 years and 9 months||4 years and 6 months||5 years and 9 months|
If the defendant is being sentenced as a repetitive offender, then the following sentencing ranges will be used for each successive offense:
|First offense||4 months||6 months||1 year||1 year and 6 months||2 years|
|Second offense||3 months||6 months||1 year||1 year and 6 months||2 years|
|Third and subsequent offenses||9 months||1 year||1 year and 9 months||2 years and 3 months||2 years and 9 months|
Defendants convicted for non-dangerous Class 6 felonies are eligible for probation and a suspended sentence. Probation is required for certain drug-related felonies like:
- personal drug possession, and
- possession of drug paraphernalia.
3.2 Dangerous Class 6 felonies
A Class 6 felony is a dangerous offense if the defendant:
- knowingly caused a serious physical injury, or
- used, discharged, or threatened someone with a deadly weapon or some other dangerous instrument.
Dangerous offenses come with higher sentencing ranges, though these ranges only include a minimum, presumptive, and a maximum term:
|Historical previous convictions for a felony-level dangerous offense||Minimum||Presumptive||Maximum|
|0||1 year and 6 months||2 years and 3 months||3 years|
|1||3 years||3 years and 9 months||4 years and 6 months|
|2 or more||4 years and 6 months||5 years and 3 months||6 years|
If the defendant is being sentenced as a repetitive offender, then the sentencing range will be:
|First conviction||1 year and 6 months||2 years and 3 months||3 years|
|Second conviction||2 years and 3 months||3 years||3 years and 9 months|
|Third and subsequent convictions||3 years and 9 months||4 years and 6 months||5.6 years|
People who have been convicted for a dangerous Class 6 felony are generally not eligible for forms of release like:
- a suspended sentence, or
3.3 Dangerous crimes against children
Some Class 6 felonies are considered a dangerous crime against a child if the victim was under the age of 15. These kinds of criminal offenses have their own sentencing range. They frequently come with a longer prison sentence.
For example, engaging in sexual conduct with a minor can be a Class 6 felony. First-time offenders with no aggravating factors can face the following sentencing range:
|4 months||6 months||1 year||1 year and 6 months||2 years|
However, if the victim was under the age of 15, the same defendant would face the following potential prison sentences, at minimum:
|13 years||20 years||27 years|
4. How can they be reduced to a misdemeanor?
Under Arizona’s criminal justice system, Class 6 felonies can be reduced to misdemeanor offenses. Doing so often requires pleading guilty to a Class 6 undesignated felony and then completing the court’s terms of sentencing.
This is why Class 6 felonies are sometimes called “wobblers.” They “wobble” between a felony and a misdemeanor classification.
Superior court judges can reduce a Class 6 felony conviction to a Class 1 misdemeanor if they think that the penalties of a felony conviction would be unduly harsh.
Prosecutors can also choose to pursue a Class 6 felony as a Class 1 misdemeanor offense, instead.
Not all offenses or defendants are eligible for this reduction. Dangerous offenses are ineligible, as are defendants who have already been convicted for 2 or more felonies previously.
Reducing a felony offense to a misdemeanor can make a huge difference in the collateral consequences and the lasting repercussions that a defendant would face for having a felony conviction on his or her criminal background.
5. What is a Class 6 undesignated felony?
A Class 6 undesignated felony is a criminal offense that has not been finalized as a felony-level offense. Instead, the court has suspended the felony sentence to allow the defendant to complete probation and other sentencing terms, like paying:
- court costs and fees, and
Once these terms are successfully completed, the defendant can request that the court designate the offense as a Class 1 misdemeanor conviction.
Class 6 undesignated felonies are often the result of a plea agreement. By hiring a lawyer from a criminal defense law firm, a defendant can make an informed decision about accepting a plea deal.
6. What is the criminal statute of limitations for Class 6 felonies?
For a Class 6 felony, the criminal statute of limitations is 7 years. This means that prosecutors have 7 years to file felony charges after the offense had been committed. If they fail to do so, a criminal defense lawyer can use the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense. If successful, the judge will dismiss the case.
Arizona’s criminal statute of limitations is only 1 year for misdemeanor offenses. However, even if a Class 6 felony is being charged as a misdemeanor, the 7-year period is used.
 ARS 13-601(A).
 ARS 13-604.
 ARS 13-801.
 ARS 13-701.
 ARS 13-105(22).
 ARS 13-703(A).
 ARS 13-105(12)-(13).
 ARS 13-702 and 13-703.
 ARS 13-703.
 ARS 13-901.01.
 ARS 13-105(12)-(13).
 ARS 13-704(A)-(C).
 ARS 13-704(F).
 ARS 13-704(G).
 ARS 13-705(Q)(1).
 ARS 13-705(A)-(C).
 ARS 13-604(A).
 ARS 13-604(B).
 ARS 13-604(A).
 ARS 13-107(B)(1).
 ARS 13-107(F).