Class 1 misdemeanors are the most severe type of misdemeanor crime in Arizona. Convictions can come with maximum penalties of up to $2,500 in fines and 6 months in jail. They also come with collateral consequences. Judges can also impose other penalties, like community service, probation, and restitution.
1. What are Class 1 misdemeanor crimes in Arizona?
Class 1 misdemeanors are a type of crime in Arizona.
Arizona law divides crimes into 3 categories. In descending order of severity, they are:
- misdemeanors, and
- petty offenses.
Misdemeanors are further divided into 3 classes:
- Class 1 misdemeanors,
- Class 2 misdemeanors, and
- Class 3 misdemeanors.
Class 1 misdemeanors are the most severe of the 3. However, they are still less severe than a felony offense.
2. What are some examples?
Examples of Class 1 misdemeanors under Arizona criminal law include:
- driving under the influence (DUI),
- street racing / exhibition of speed,
- driving on a suspended license,
- theft of property valued at less than $1,000,
- criminal damage causing between $250 and $1,000 of losses,
- disorderly conduct,
- criminal trespassing,
- assault causing a physical injury,
- certain domestic violence offenses,
- criminal threatening,
- resisting arrest, and
- possession of drug paraphernalia.
People accused of these crimes should strongly consider reaching out to an attorney at an Arizona criminal defense law firm to protect them from a serious criminal conviction.
3. What are the penalties of a conviction?
A conviction for a Class 1 misdemeanor carries the following types of penalties:
- jail time, and
The fines and jail time will depend on whether the defendant is a first-time offender or someone who has a prior conviction for the same offense in the past 2 years. Defendants with a previous conviction are sentenced according to the next level of criminal offense – in this case, a Class 6 felony:
|Maximum fines||Maximum jail time|
|First-time offender||$2,500||6 months|
|At least 1 prior conviction||$150,000||2 years|
The jail time for a misdemeanor conviction is spent in county jail, rather than in state prison. However, judges may suspend the jail sentence and impose probation, instead. For Class 1 misdemeanors in Arizona, the maximum probation sentence is 3 years. Probation is required if the offense was for either:
- personal drug possession, or
- possession of drug paraphernalia.
The fines are subject to surcharges and assessments that can drastically increase the amounts owed, sometimes to nearly double the maximum fine amount:
|Surcharge or assessment||Amount|
|Criminal Justice Enhancement Fund||42% of fine|
|Medical Services Enhancement Fund Surcharge||13% of fine|
|Clean Elections Fund Surcharge||10% of fine|
|“Fill the Gap” Surcharge||7% of fine|
|Forensics Fund Surcharge||6% of fine|
|Probation Assessment||$20.00 flat fee|
|Additional Assessment||$13.00 flat fee|
|Victims’ Rights Penalty Assessment||$9.00 flat fee|
|Victims’ Rights Enforcement Assessment||$2.00 flat fee|
These assessments and surcharges increase the fines by an additional 78 percent of the fine, plus an additional $44.00. The percentage increased used to be 83 percent until it was reduced in 2019.
Certain offenses come with their own additional fines and surcharges at the discretion of the court. Some examples are:
- at least $1,000 for a first drug offense,
- at least $2,000 for a second or subsequent drug offense, and
- a $250 assessment for aggravated DUI or for DUI while under the extreme influence of alcohol.
Judges in Arizona also have the discretion to impose other penalties for criminal convictions for this class of misdemeanor. These include:
- home detention,
- required educational classes,
- drug or alcohol therapy, treatment, or counseling,
- community service,
- paying restitution to the victims,
- work release, and
- suspending the defendant’s driver’s license, if the offense involved a motor vehicle.
Convictions for Class 1 misdemeanors will also add a blemish to the defendant’s criminal record. This can lead to significant collateral consequences as other government agencies and even private parties treat the defendant differently because of his or her criminal background.
Examples of collateral consequences include:
- immigration issues, for non-citizens convicted of a crime,
- loss of child custody,
- restrictions to Second Amendment rights and gun ownership,
- difficulties in getting a loan or mortgage, especially if the crime involved fraud,
- increased car insurance premiums, if the offense involved unsafe driving,
- problems getting a job with a criminal record, and
- losing eligibility for a professional license or certification.
Collateral consequences like these are more severe for defendants who have been convicted for a felony-level offense. However, they are far from trivial for misdemeanor defendants. A criminal defense lawyer can help defendants understand what rights might be infringed in the event of a conviction.
4. How long do prosecutors have to file charges?
Prosecutors in Arizona have a statute of limitations of 1 year after the incident to file charges for a Class 1 misdemeanor offense, unless the alleged crime involved a car accident that caused a death or serious injury, like a DUI offense. In these cases, prosecutors have 2 years to file the charges.
These time periods do not apply to Class 6 felony charges that are being pursued as misdemeanors. These offenses, known as “wobblers” because they wobble between felonies and misdemeanors, still abide by the 7-year statute of limitations for felony offenses.
If prosecutors do not file the misdemeanor charges in this time period, a criminal defense attorney can raise the criminal statute of limitations as an affirmative defense. If this defense succeeds, the judge will dismiss the case.
 ARS 13-601(B).
 ARS 13-707, 13-802, and 13-902.
 ARS 13-901.01.
 ARS 12-114.01(A), 12-116.01, 12-116.02, 12.116.04(A), 12.116.08(A), 12-116.09(A), 16-954(A), and Geoffrey Paulsen, “Current Statutory Court Surcharges and Assessments on Criminal and Civil Fines, Penalties, Forfeitures, Traffic Violations, and Local Ordinances,” Joint Legislative Budget Committee (Aug. 6, 2019).
 ARS 13-821(A)(1).
 ARS 13-821(A)(2).
 ARS 28-1382(D)(3) and ARS 28-1383(J)(2).
 ARS 13-107(B)(2).
 ARS 28-672(H).