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Maximum misdemeanor sentences in Arizona

While a misdemeanor is certainly a crime in Arizona, it's far less serious than a felony, and so the law puts upper restrictions on the sentences. They cannot go above these maximum limits, no matter what the judge desires. While the judge does have the power to use a lesser sentence -- such as probation or house arrest -- these regulations put a check on a judge's power.

Misdemeanors are also divided into different classes, based on severity, with these being Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3.

For a Class 1 misdemeanor, the maximum term that can be handed out is six months behind bars; this is the most serious offense. For a Class 2 misdemeanor, the maximum term drops down to four months. For the least serious of all, a Class 3 misdemeanor, the maximum jail term is 30 days.

The number of offenses can also increase the class level for adults -- those over 18 years old. For instance, if a person is arrested for a misdemeanor and he or she has been convicted in the last two years of the exact same misdemeanor, the offense jumps up from a Class 3 to a Class 2 or from a Class 2 to a Class 1.

It's very important to know about the maximum limits and the sentencing structure if you've been arrested in Arizona, as these rules can help you know what to expect from the sentence; if you've been charged with the same thing before, don't expect the sentence to always be the same. It's also good to know all of your legal options as you go before the judge so that your sentence is fair and in keeping with the law.

Source: Arizona State Legislature, "Misdemeanors; sentencing," accessed May. 28, 2015

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