What is a misdemeanor in Flagstaff? Can you get a misdemeanor for a traffic offense? Can you go to jail for a misdemeanor, or only for a felony? What punishment does Arizona law for a misdemeanor conviction? Are there classes of misdemeanors?
Misdemeanors are often misunderstood. Misdemeanors are criminal in nature, unlike a “civil” speeding ticket, and you can suffer the punishments of a criminal conviction, like jail, fines, restitution, probation, drivers license suspension and revocation, and other consequences. In fact, a speeding ticket is a good way to explain the relative nature of a misdemeanor. Say you get pulled over for speeding in Flagstaff, and the Flagstaff Police Officer issues you a speeding ticket for going 45 mph in a 35 mph zone on South Milton Road. That is called a “civil traffic offense” in Arizona because it is non-criminal and you cannot be ordered to go to jail for it.
Now let’s say you get pulled over for going 60mph in the 35 mph speed limit on South Milton Road. In that case, you’d be 25 mph over the limit. That is a criminal offense in Arizona. It’s called criminal speeding or “excessive speeds,” in violation of A.R.S. section 28-701.02(A)(2). It is a “class 3” misdemeanor. That’s because going 20mph over the speed limit is no longer a civil violation; it is criminal. Similarly, if you get caught going anything over 85 mph in Arizona, you are guilty of excessive speeds in violation of A.R.S. section 28-701.02(A)(3). That is also a class 3 misdemeanor.
So a misdemeanor is worse than a civil offense. But is not as bad as a felony offense. It is somewhere in between. And misdemeanor convictions do appear on your criminal record because they are criminal convictions. Here are the maximum punishments for an Arizona misdemeanor conviction:
- Class 1 Misdemeanor — You can get up to 6 months jail and a fine of up to $2,500, plus criminal restitution and probation;
- Class 2 Misdemeanor – You can get up to 4 months jail and a fine of up to $750, plus criminal restitution and probation;
- Class 3 Misdemeanor – You can get up to 30 days jail and a fine of up to $500, plus criminal restitution and probation.
Before you accept a misdemeanor conviction or plead guilty to a misdemeanor in Flagstaff or anywhere in Arizona, contact a lawyer for a free consultation. Sometimes, you can get a better deal and maybe, just maybe, you can beat the charges.