Class 4 Felonies And The Categorical Penalties in Phoenix, AZ.
Arizona has a felony classification system whereby certain felonies are assigned a level or a “class”. Each class has its own sentencing range that the court must follow. This is because Arizona’s Legislature has adopted sentencing guidelines that require a certain amount of prison time for each class of felony. The judge cannot sentence a defendant below the statutory minimum or above the statutory maximum unless the law allows for it under special circumstances. This article is limited to examples of Class 4 felonies and the categorical penalties for first-time offenders, repetitive offenders, offenses committed while on felony probation, and dangerous offenses (weapons or dangerous instruments were used during the commission of the offense).
Class 4 felonies include Aggravated Assault, Possession of Marijuana for Sale (under 2 lbs), Possession of Methamphetamine/Ecstasy/Narcotics, Aggravated Driving Under the Influence, Misconduct Involving Weapons (prohibited possessor), Theft (depending on the dollar value amount of the property taken), Forgery, and Taking the Identity of another person.
Class 4 felonies have a prison sentencing range of 1 year to 3.75 years. The “presumptive”, or mid-range sentence, for a Class 4 felony is 2.5 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.
The presumptive sentencing range is where the judge starts prior to hearing arguments from both the Defense and the State. The Defense presents mitigating evidence to the court in order to convince the judge that a sentence less than the presumptive are appropriate for the particular case. This can include anything from family support, substance abuse at the time of the offense, little to no criminal history, mental health diagnosis, participation in the offense was minimal, or any other fact or circumstance that humanizes the client.
The Defense is always attempting to show a judge why less time is more appropriate for this particular client.