Most crimes fall into one of two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. A felony is the more serious of the two, with more serious repercussions. Felonies in Arizona are classed from 1 to 6, with 1 being the most punitive and 6 being the least. Felonies could include anything in the realm of theft, violent crimes like assault, sexual crimes, and certain types of drug related charges.

If you’re wondering how much jail time convicted felons serve, it depends on what class felony the crime falls into: class 6 may results in 1 year of prison time and that increases through the classes up to class 2, which results in 5 years. Penalties jump up much higher at class 1, with 25 years being the minimum, up to life in prison and possibly even the death penalty in cases of first degree murder. Incidentally, only first and second degree murder qualifies as a class 1 felony.

Penalties can be more severe for individuals who already have a record. It’s also important to note that if someone is convicted of a felony, they will serve time in a state prison, not a local jail. The severity of the punishment does depend on the discretion of the judge, which is why having an excellent lawyer can help minimize the impact of your sentencing.

In fact, in some cases a criminal defense lawyer may be able to negotiate with the judge, bringing your felony down to the status of a misdemeanor, which would mean a much shorter sentence of jail time between 30 days and 6 months. An attorney will know how to present the most convincing evidence to the judge that will create a more convincing case for reduced sentencing. That means less jail time, and every day regained in freedom is something the defendant will surely appreciate.