Class 2 misdemeanors are a category of misdemeanor crimes in Arizona that carry up to 4 months of jail time and $750 in fines, although the fines can increase with surcharges. There may be probation and other penalties, as well, including collateral consequences, community service, and paying restitution.
1. What is a Class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona?
Class 2 misdemeanors are a kind of criminal offense in Arizona.
Arizona’s criminal law has 3 categories of crimes:
- felonies, which are the most severe,
- misdemeanors, and
- petty offenses, which are the least severe.
The potential penalties for a conviction for each of these offenses is a reflection of the crime’s severity. Felonies can carry over a year in prison. Misdemeanors can carry up to a year in jail. Petty offenses do not carry any jail time, at all.
Misdemeanors are divided into 3 classes:
- Class 1 misdemeanors,
- Class 2 misdemeanors, and
- Class 3 misdemeanors.
Class 1 misdemeanors are the most severe of these classes. They include offenses like driving on a suspended license, possession of drug paraphernalia, disorderly conduct, and shoplifting. However, Class 1 misdemeanors are still less severe than a felony-level offense.
Class 3 misdemeanors, like third-degree trespassing, are the least severe, but are still more serious than a petty offense.
Class 2 misdemeanors are in-between these extremes.
2. What are some examples?
Examples of Class 2 misdemeanors in Arizona include:
- reckless driving,
- leaving the scene of a car accident,
- driving under the influence (DUI) with an open container,
- public nuisance,
- certain domestic violence offenses,
- second-degree criminal trespassing,
- criminal damage of less than $250,
- giving a fake name to police,
- intentionally exposing someone to an infectious disease,
- contempt of court, and
- attempt to commit a Class 1 misdemeanor.
3. What are the penalties?
The penalties for a conviction for a Class 2 misdemeanor include:
- jail time,
- probation, and
- other penalties.
The defendant’s criminal background can alter the fines and jail time that they face. Defendants who have a previous conviction for the same criminal offense in the last 2 years will be sentenced as if they had been convicted for the next level of criminal offense – in this case, a Class 1 misdemeanor. The maximum penalties for a Class 2 misdemeanor conviction are:
|First offense||4 months||$750||2 years|
|1 or more prior convictions in the last 2 years||6 months||$2,500||3 years|
The jail time is spent in county jail, rather than in state prison.
Judges can suspend the jail sentence and put the defendant on up to 2 years of probation, instead. Probation is required if the conviction was for certain drug offenses.
The fines are subject to certain assessments and surcharges. The assessments add a flat fee to the amount owed. Surcharges add an additional percentage of the underlying fine. Together, these can add $44, plus an additional 78 percent of the fines. The following surcharges and assessments apply to all misdemeanor convictions:
|Assessment or surcharge||Amount increase|
|Probation Assessment||$20.00 flat fee|
|Victims’ Rights Penalty Assessment||$9.00|
|Victims’ Rights Enforcement Assessment||$2.00|
|Criminal Justice Enhancement Fund||42% of the underlying fine|
|Medical Services Enhancement Fund Surcharge||13%|
|Clean Elections Fund Surcharge||10%|
|“Fill the Gap” Surcharge||7%|
|Forensics Fund Surcharge||6%|
There used to be an additional 5 percent surcharge, but it was repealed in 2019.
Additionally, some specific offenses come with their own fines, surcharges, and assessments. Examples include:
- first-time drug offenses, which carry an additional $1,000 fine,
- second or subsequent drug offenses, which carry an additional $2,000 fine, and
- certain DUI offenses, which come with additional assessments.
Judges also have the discretion to impose other penalties, in addition to fines, jail time, and probation. These other repercussions can include:
- restitution payments,
- mandatory educational classes,
- drug or alcohol therapy, counseling, or treatment,
- community service,
- work release,
- home detention, and
- driver’s license suspension, for offenses involving a motor vehicle.
The blemish that a criminal conviction for a Class 2 misdemeanor puts on a defendant’s criminal record can also lead to collateral consequences. These are obstacles that come from private parties and governmental agencies other than the criminal justice system. Depending on the nature of the criminal conviction, they can include:
- loss of the right to own or possess a firearm,
- increased car insurance premiums after a serious moving violation,
- reduction in child custody,
- loss of immigration status,
- loss of eligibility for a professional certification or license, or sanctions from the licensing board,
- facing difficulties in getting a job, and
- struggling to get a loan, mortgage, or credit.
While these collateral consequences are more severe for felony offenses, they can still have long-term damage after a misdemeanor offense. Worse, many defendants are unaware of them. A criminal defense lawyer can help defendants understand what is at risk, should they get convicted for this class of misdemeanor.
4. How long do prosecutors have to file a charge?
Under Arizona law, prosecutors generally have 1-year statute of limitations to file criminal charges for a Class 2 misdemeanor offense. If the offense involved a car accident that caused a death or a serious injury, though, prosecutors have 2 years to file the charges.
This is the criminal statute of limitations.
If prosecutors fail to file misdemeanor charges before this time expires, then a criminal defense attorney can raise the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense. If successful, it can lead to the charges getting dismissed as time-barred.
 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).