In Arizona, there are countless misdemeanor charges that a person can be charged with.  Some of the more common charges include Driving under the Influence, Domestic Violence, Shoplifting and Prostitution.  There are also several misdemeanors that include driving infractions such as Driving While License Suspended, Reckless Driving and Criminal Speeding.  Our attorneys have handled hundreds of cases in Maricopa County Justice Court as well as Municipal Courts in cities around Arizona including: Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, Glendale and Scottsdale.  We not only have experience with how each court in the area works, but we also have experience with most judges as well as prosecutors that work in the courts around Maricopa County and surrounding areas.  

Why Fight Misdemeanor Criminal Charges – Consequences of a Criminal Record

Although incarceration in jail or prison, stiff fines, and exposure to other formal sentencing penalties might constitute the immediate concern when you are accused of a crime, the long-term consequences also must be considered.  The ways a misdemeanor conviction on your criminal record can interfere with your future include:

MVD Consequences: For several misdemeanors such as DUI and Reckless driving, there may be consequences including license suspension and revocation.

Occupational Licensing: Many professional and occupational licenses require a mandatory criminal background check.  Although not every criminal conviction will eliminate eligibility for a professional license, certain misdemeanors might interfere with your ability to be an attorney, teacher, insurance agent/broker, investment broker, medical professional, or to obtain necessary licensing for other careers.

Immigration Consequences: Certain misdemeanor offenses can provide a basis for removal from the U.S. or have other immigration consequences.

Lack of Qualification for Financial Aid: Access to some forms of financial aid to facilitate higher education might be denied based on a misdemeanor conviction.

Limits on Residential Options: Rental applications often include questions about prior convictions or request permission to run a criminal background check.  A prospective landlord might reject an applicant with impeccable credit because of a misdemeanor conviction.

Experienced Gilbert Criminal Defense Lawyers Mitigating the Impact of a Misdemeanor Charge

The list above only amounts to a few of the ways that people learn their misdemeanor guilty plea might not have been in their best interest.  Our experienced Maricopa County criminal defense attorneys recognize that our clients must understand both the formal and informal consequences of a misdemeanor, so the legal options can be carefully considered when deciding between a plea agreement and proceeding to trial.  Our attorneys prepare for plea discussions with an eye toward trial because this preparation enables us to aggressively negotiate for the best outcome for our client. We handle plea negotiations with the prosecutor with the same tenacity we use at trial in pursuit of the best outcome.  Our law firm has had significant success in using this approach to obtain outcomes that include:

  • Arranging a disposition that includes home incarceration or community service rather than jail time
  • Persuading the prosecutor to dismiss some charges or the entire criminal case
  • Avoiding a criminal record by persuading the prosecutor to agree to reduce the charge to a non-criminal offense, diversion or deferred prosecution
  • Negotiating a plea to a lesser misdemeanor with fewer collateral consequences
  • Convincing the prosecutor to charge a case in a more favorable way, such as fewer or less serious charges

Misdemeanor Sentencing in Arizona

Unlike minor traffic violations, misdemeanors constitute a criminal offense in Arizona with varying degrees of punishment.  Generally, a misdemeanor crime is defined as a criminal offense that carries a maximum sentence of six months. Arizona law divides these crimes into the following categories for sentencing:

Class of Misdemeanor Maximum Jail Time Maximum Fine

Class 1 Misdemeanor 6 months county jail $2,500

Class 2 Misdemeanor 4 months county jail $750

Class 3 Misdemeanor 30 days county jail $500

[See A.R.S. 13-707, A.R.S. 13-802]

When a person is sentenced for a misdemeanor conviction in Arizona, the individual will also usually be placed on probation.  The typical probation terms include 3 years for a class 1 misdemeanor or 2 years for a class 2 misdemeanor. [A.R.S.12-902]

Effective Defense Against the Full Spectrum of Arizona Misdemeanors

While our Arizona criminal defense law firm represents people charged with all misdemeanor offenses, some of those we handle most frequently include:

  • Assault (Class 1 to Class 3 misdemeanor)
  • DUI (Class 1 misdemeanor)
  • Indecent Exposure (Class 1 misdemeanor if the victim is older than 15)
  • Shoplifting (Class 1 misdemeanor if the value of property less than $1,000)
  • Prostitution (Class 1 misdemeanor to felony depending on circumstances)
  • Arson (Class 1 misdemeanor to Class 2 felony depending on circumstances)
  • Loitering (Class 3 misdemeanor to Class 1 misdemeanor depending on circumstances)
  • Animal Cruelty (Class 1 misdemeanor)
  • Criminal Damage (Class 2 misdemeanor to Class 1 misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the damaged property)
  • Theft (Class 1 misdemeanor if the value of the property is under $1,000)
  • Criminal Trespassing (Class 3 misdemeanor to Class 6 felony depending on circumstances)
  • Resisting Arrest (Class 1 misdemeanor for passive resistance (e.g. non-violence)

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Maricopa County Criminal Defense Lawyer

While misdemeanor charges pose a less serious threat to your future than felonies, the consequences can still include jail time, significant fines, and a multitude of long-term complications.  Our attorneys conduct a thorough investigation of the facts, conduct a careful analysis of the factual and legal issues, and provide persuasive advocacy in and out of the courtroom. Whether you have been arrested and/or charged with a crime or you are merely the subject of a law enforcement investigation, we invite you to contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation and learn about your options.  We are available to meet with clients 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.