AZ Felony Defense AttorneyPhoenix-Mesa-Gilbert Felony Criminal Defense Attorneys

A felony charge can derail your life. If you are convicted, you may have to spend time in prison, even for a first-time, nonviolent offense.

Whether you committed the crime or not, you are entitled to due process. The best way to protect your rights, and get the best outcome for your individual situation, is to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney with experience successfully defending people charged with felonies. A good lawyer understands Arizona’s complex criminal court system, and will guide you through the process with compassion.

If you were arrested on felony charges in Phoenix, Mesa, or Gilbert, Arizona, contact the experienced attorneys at McPhie Law at (480) 400-5555, or online, to discuss your case.

What Crimes Are Felonies?

If you were arrested, you may not know whether you will face a felony or misdemeanor until the prosecutor files formal charges. Arizona divides felonies into three broad types: dangerous crimes, non-dangerous crimes, and dangerous crimes against children. Below we discuss some of the most commonly charged felony crimes and their respective categories:

Dangerous Crimes

  • Murder and manslaughter
  • Aggravated assault with injury
  • Some sexual assaults
  • Arson when people are present
  • Armed robbery and burglary
  • Kidnapping
  • Child prostitution

Non-Dangerous Crimes

  • Money laundering
  • Mortgage fraud, investment fraud, and other white-collar crimes
  • Some drug charges
  • Burglary, theft, robbery
  • Bribing a state employee
  • Arson
  • Forgery
  • Identity theft
  • Attempting any dangerous crimes

Dangerous Crimes Against Children

  • Attempted murder of a child younger than 12
  • Sexual exploitation of a minor, including prostitution and pornography
  • Giving harmful items (such as guns or drugs) to a minor
  • Luring a minor for sexual exploitation
  • Sexual assault of a minor

What Are the Penalties for a Felony Crime?

Felony penalties vary widely depending on the crime, but always involve a potential penalty of at least one year in jail. Arizona law divides felonies into six classes, based on the severity of the underlying crime.

For example, first- and second-degree murder are Class 1 felonies; whereas Class 6 felonies are generally nonviolent, non-dangerous crimes.

Arizona law sets presumptive sentences for most felonies, which usually lie somewhere between the statutorily prescribed minimum and maximum sentences. Judges generally follow these guidelines during sentencing, but sometimes may adjust their sentences based on the specific circumstances of the crime and a defendant’s criminal history.

Furthermore, first-time, nonviolent offenders charged with drug crimes are eligible for probation. Below are the sentencing minimums and maximums for each felony class:

  • Class 1: First-degree murder means life in prison or the death penalty. Second-degree murder carries a sentence of 16 years to life.
  • Class 2: The minimum sentence for Class 2 felonies is four years for non-dangerous crimes. If convicted, however, the state can incarcerate defendants for 35 years, depending on the circumstances surrounding their crimes and their prior criminal records.
  • Class 3: The minimum sentence for Class 3 felonies is two years and six months for non-dangerous crimes, but if convicted of a more serious crime or prior offenses exist, a defendant could face 25 years in prison.
  • Class 4: Sentencing for Class 4 felonies ranges from 18 months to 16 years, depending on the nature of the crime and the number of prior offenses.
  • Class 5: The minimum sentence for Class 5 felonies is nine months, and the maximum sentence is seven-and-a-half years, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the crime and the defendant’s prior record.
  • Class 6: Sentencing for Class 6 felonies ranges from six months to six years. In some cases, often for first-time offenders, a judge may reduce a Class 6 felony to a Class 1 misdemeanor, and adjust the sentence accordingly.

In addition to jail time, a felony conviction may incur other penalties, including:

  • In Arizona, a judge may fine a convicted felon as much as $150,000.
  • For nonviolent drug crimes, a judge may substitute a court-ordered drug treatment program in lieu of jail time, especially for first-time offenders.
  • For crimes where the victim incurred economic losses or property damage, the judge will likely order restitution in addition to all other penalties.
  • For sex crimes, a judge may order the convicted felon to register as a sex offender.

What Are the Possible Defenses Against Drug Charges?

An experienced Arizona criminal defense lawyer will decide on the appropriate legal strategy based on the specific circumstances of your case. A good defense might result in the reduction or dismissal of your charges, or at least persuade leniency by the judge during sentencing. Examples of potential defenses include:

  • The accused maintains innocence, and suggests that someone else committed the crime.
  • The accused was coerced into committing the crime, or was under duress when committing the crime.
  • Any bodily injury to another, whether murder or assault, was the result of self-defense.
  • The statute of limitations for the crime has expired.
  • The prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to prove guilt.
  • Law enforcement committed constitutional violations during the investigation, such as not reading a defendant’s rights or engaging in an unlawful search and seizure.
  • Entrapment, which is where the police set up the accused to commit the crime.
  • Law enforcement didn’t follow proper procedures.

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost Me?

A felony conviction involves numerous potential penalties and consequences, including jail time and a loss of certain civil rights. If you are charged with a felony, you likely want the court to dismiss your charges, or at very least reduce your amount of jail time.

A skilled criminal defense attorney will protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome given the specific circumstances of your case. At McPhie Law, we offer free consultations, during which you can share your story of the incident. If you decide to retain us, we will analyze your case and develop a strong legal defense.

Call the Experienced Defense Attorneys at McPhie Law

If you were arrested and charged with a felony, contact an experienced Arizona criminal defense lawyer immediately to determine your best course of action. When appropriate, an attorney will investigate your case, interview witnesses, and gather information to help build a strong legal defense.

If you were arrested in Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, or the surrounding area, call McPhie Law today at (480) 400-5555, or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.