A Class 3 misdemeanor is the least severe type of crime in Arizona, except for petty offenses. Convictions for these crimes carry up to 1 month in jail and $500 in fines. Judges can also impose up to 1 year of probation, as well as other penalties, like community service and restitution. There are also collateral consequences of a conviction.
1. What are Class 3 misdemeanor crimes in Arizona?
In Arizona, a Class 3 misdemeanor is a category of a misdemeanor offense.
Arizona’s criminal law sets out 3 categories for each type of illegal activity:
Felonies are for the most severe type of crime. Convictions for these offenses carry over a year in prison and years of probation. Misdemeanors are less severe than felonies. They carry up to a year in jail. Petty offenses are the least severe. They do not carry any jail time, at all.
Misdemeanor offenses are further divided into 3 classes:
Class 3 misdemeanors are the least severe. The only criminal offenses that are less serious than this class of misdemeanor is a petty offense.
Class 2 misdemeanors, like causing criminal damage of less than $250 or reckless driving, are slightly more serious than a Class 3 misdemeanor.
Class 1 misdemeanors, like many driving under the influence (DUI) offenses, shoplifting, or disorderly conduct, are the most serious type of misdemeanor. However, they are still less severe than all felony offenses.
2. What are some examples of this offense?
Some examples of a Class 3 misdemeanor in Arizona include:
- criminal nuisance,
- criminal trespassing in the third degree,
- assaultive touching, or knowingly touching someone else with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke them,
- certain domestic violence offenses,
- excessive speeding,
- leaving the scene of a car accident involving a parked car,
- providing false information, including to a police officer, and
- attempting to commit a Class 2 misdemeanor.
People in Arizona, including in Mesa, Scottsdale, or Phoenix, who have been accused of committing one of these criminal offenses should strongly consider calling a law firm and hiring a criminal defense lawyer from their law office. With an attorney’s legal advice, defendants can better protect their rights and their future.
3. What are the penalties of a Class 3 Arizona misdemeanor?
Convictions for a Class 3 misdemeanor in Arizona come with the following types of penalties:
- jail time,
- other penalties, and
- collateral consequences of a conviction.
First-time defendants who have been convicted of a Class 3 misdemeanor charge will be sentenced according to the Class 3 misdemeanor statute. However, defendants who have been convicted for the same criminal offense in the 2 years before the incident will be sentenced according to the Class 2 misdemeanor statute. Therefore, the maximum penalties that defendants can face for a Class 3 misdemeanor will be:
|First-time offender||1 month||$500||1 year|
|1 or more previous convictions for the same offense in the last 2 years||4 months||$750||2 years|
Defendants sentenced to serve time in jail will spend their sentence in county jail rather than a state prison. However, judges can suspend the jail sentence and impose up to a year of probation, instead.
While Arizona law says that the maximum fine for a Class 3 misdemeanor conviction is $500, that amount can rise significantly from all of the assessments and surcharges that come with it.
Assessments are flat fees that provide funding for certain parts of the criminal justice system. They include:
|Victims’ Rights Penalty Assessment||$9.00|
|Victims’ Rights Enforcement Assessment||$2.00|
These assessments add an additional $44 to the fines that a Class 3 misdemeanor defendant can face.
Surcharges are additional payments that are based on the amount of the underlying fine. They include:
|Type of surcharge||Additional fine|
|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%|
These surcharges add an additional 78 percent to the fine. For Class 3 misdemeanors that come with a maximum $500 fine, this can add an additional $390 in surcharges. State law used to add an additional 83 percent in surcharges, but this number was decreased in 2019.
These assessments and surcharges apply to all criminal offenses. Certain crimes, like drug offenses, come with an additional fine in addition to the maximum fine and its assessments and surcharges.
Arizona judges may also impose other penalties, in addition to these fines, probation, and jail time. These can include:
- mandatory education classes,
- community service,
- time in home detention,
- work release,
- restitution payments to the victim,
- drug or alcohol counseling or treatment, and
- a driver’s license suspension, if the offense involved a motor vehicle.
There are also collateral consequences of having a conviction on your criminal record. Other government agencies and private companies treat people with a criminal background differently. Those obstacles are called collateral consequences. Some of the most common include:
- restrictions on the right to own or possess a firearm,
- loss of child custody,
- employment consequences, such as job loss or difficulties in getting hired because of the prior criminal conviction,
- inability to get a loan or mortgage,
- increases in car insurance premiums, if the offense involved speeding or other driving violations,
- immigration consequences, for non-citizens, and
- professional licensing and certification repercussions.
These collateral consequences can have long-term effects on a defendant’s well-being. They are also difficult to predict, and most defendants are unaware of what can happen if they get convicted. A criminal defense lawyer can help people who have been accused of a Class 3 misdemeanor better understand the potential consequences of a conviction.
4. What is the criminal statute of limitations?
The criminal statute of limitations is a state law that provides a time frame for prosecutors to file criminal charges against a suspect.
For Class 3 misdemeanors, the criminal statute of limitations is Arizona is 1 year. If the offense involved a car accident that caused a serious injury or a fatality, though, the time frame is 2 years.
If prosecutors do not file the criminal charges before that time period has expired, it provides a strong argument for the defendant’s criminal defense attorney. If he or she successfully raises the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense, the judge will rule that the charges are time-barred and will dismiss the case.
 ARS 13-601(B).
 ARS 13-707, 13-802, and 13-902.
 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).