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Class 1 Misdemeanor Explained

The crimes people commit fall into different categories. Typically, the category covering the crime will determine what penalties the defendant will receive. For instance, committing a class 1 misdemeanor carries serious penalties.

It’s important to know what committing a class 1 misdemeanor entails. Having that knowledge drives home the severity of certain offenses.

Even for those who have committed a crime, knowing about class 1 misdemeanors can be helpful. They can formulate a better legal strategy after hearing about the possible penalties they could face.

Let’s talk more about class 1 misdemeanors in this article. Find out about the different kinds of class 1 misdemeanors along with the penalties that come with committing them. You can also learn more about other topics related to those misdemeanor violations by reading on.

What Are the Different Categories of Crimes?

We’ve already talked a bit about the categories of crimes, so let’s expand on that topic now. The number can vary from one state to the next. In Arizona, though, they are grouped into petty offenses, felonies, and of course, misdemeanors.

Petty Offenses

Depending on where you live, they may also call petty offenses infractions. Regardless of what they call them, petty offenses are minor crimes.

The penalties for petty offenses are typically on the lighter side. You do not always receive jail time. In some cases, the most significant penalty handed down by the court is a fine.

Petty offenses also usually don’t lead to any trials. Cases involving petty offenses may get sorted out during a single visit to the municipal court. There are also instances where they handle them without the defendant making a court appearance.


On the opposite end of the spectrum from petty offenses are felonies. They are the most serious crimes that any person can commit. Examples of felonies include homicide, rape, and kidnapping.

The officials assign serious penalties to those who are guilty of committing a felony. People who commit a felony will spend time in prison, and often, their stay will span multiple years and possibly even decades.

Trials are also common in felony cases because of how serious the matter is. Also, they divide felonies into different sub-categories. The sub-categories hint at how severe a particular felony is.


Misdemeanors cover the ground between petty offenses and felonies. As you’ll see in a bit, there are all kinds of crimes that quality as misdemeanors. Similar to felonies, they use sub-categories to classify misdemeanors.

Given the variety of misdemeanors, the penalties for them can also be quite varied. Jail time and fines are common penalties, but some additions may be included in a person’s sentence depending on the type of their misdemeanor. In a DUI case, they may receive additional penalties to take away a person’s driving privileges.

Unlike with petty offenses and felonies, the need to head to trial is less certain when it comes to misdemeanors. Defendants will need to prepare for various possibilities if they are facing a misdemeanor charge.

What Is a Class 1 Misdemeanor?

As noted above, they divide misdemeanors into different sub-categories. Those include class 1, class 2, and class 3 misdemeanors.  Do note that they may refer to them as class A, class B, and class C misdemeanors, with A being equivalent to 1 and so on.

Let’s focus first on the class 1 misdemeanors.

The class 1 misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanors. They include the longest jail sentences, the heaviest fines relative to other misdemeanor charges. They also come with additional penalties.

Examples of Class 1 Misdemeanors

Officials consider numerous crimes as class 1 misdemeanors. We’re not going to enumerate all of the misdemeanors in Arizona, but we will go over some of the most common examples. We’ll also be grouping them into different categories to make them easier to track.

Driving-Related Class 1 Misdemeanors:

  • Aggressive Driving
  • Driving under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor or Drugs
  • Driving with a Suspended License
  • Falsifying a Driver’s License
  • Highway Racing

Fraud-Related Class 1 Misdemeanors:

  • Deceptive Business Practices
  • False Advertising
  • Fraud Related to Providing Goods or Services
  • Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card
  • Paying with a Bad Check
  • Impersonating a Public Servant

Class 1 Misdemeanors of a Sexual Nature:

  • Indecent Exposure
  • Public Sexual Indecency
  • Running a Sexually-Oriented Business in Violation of Determined Operation Locations and Hours

Class 1 Misdemeanors Involving Public Property:

  • Criminal Littering or Polluting
  • Reckless Burning
  • Disposing Garbage on Public Property Located in Unincorporated Areas of the State

Class 1 Misdemeanors Involving Public Officials:

  • Impersonating a Public Official
  • Interfering with Court Proceedings
  • Interfering with Government Operations
  • Refusing to Aid a Peace Officer

Class 1 Misdemeanors Involving False Reporting:

  • False Reporting of Child Abuse
  • False Reporting of Sexual Assault Involving a Spouse
  • False Reporting to Law Enforcement

Other Notable Class 1 Misdemeanors:

  • Burning Private Property That Costs under $100
  • Certain Kinds of Cruelty to Animals
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Improper Conduct Involving Explosives and Other Weapons
  • Intentionally Causing Physical Injury to Another Person
  • Intimidating Another Person over the Phone
  • Loitering on School Grounds
  • Prostitution
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Unlawful Imprisonment

What Are the Standard Penalties for Class 1 Misdemeanors?

Upon being found guilty of any class 1 misdemeanor, you can expect to face some stiff penalties.

The maximum amount of jail time due to a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona is one hundred and eighty days.

Notably, there is a chance that a person who committed a class 1 misdemeanor can avoid jail time altogether. To do that, they will need the services of a skilled and reliable lawyer.

Next up, people who committed a class 1 felony will also pay a fine. The maximum amount an individual may pay is $2500.

It is worth pointing out that the person in question must also pay a surcharge. Practically speaking, that means the person convicted may need to pay a bit more than the maximum amount of $2500.

Individuals who are guilty of committing a class 1 misdemeanor are also on unsupervised probation. The probationary period for offenders can last for up to three years.

What Are the Additional Penalties for Certain Class 1 Misdemeanors?

Aside from the standard penalties detailed above, specific class 1 misdemeanors also come bundled together with additional penalties. Those additional penalties are related to the nature of the offense that the defendant committed.

For example, in an indecent exposure case, a defendant may be required to register as a sex offender. Businesses that benefit from false advertising may also need to pay back their customers on top of the fines they owe to the court. A business may even close down depending on the number of their violations.

Additional penalties are probably most common in DUI cases.

It’s common for a drunk driver to have their driver’s license suspended. Drunk drivers often undergo alcohol screening and treatment. They may also render community service.

In Arizona, they install a certified ignition interlock device on the vehicle of a driver guilty of driving under the influence. That device prevents a driver from using their vehicle unless their blood alcohol concentration is under a certain level. By the way, tampering with ignition interlock device is also regarded as a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona.

Will Penalties for Class 1 Misdemeanors Be Impacted by Earlier Convictions?

The penalties for class 1 misdemeanors can be severe. It’s not an exaggeration to say that they can have a negative impact on your life that will take a long time to recover from.

Here’s the thing, though:  Defendants don’t always get sentenced to those harsh penalties even if they were found guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. There are other factors that can play a role in that.

One of those factors is a person’s criminal history.

If you had no blemish on your criminal record before you were found guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor, there’s a greater chance that the judge will show you leniency. Instead of a jail sentence, the judge may opt for a combination of community service and probation.

Basically, you’re getting a second chance because you haven’t exhibited a pattern of criminal behavior previously. Now, receiving some leniency from the judge doesn’t mean you’re in the clear yet.

Failure to meet the terms of your probation and you could receive the punishment that you would have earlier. This on you to show that it was one mistake and that you’ve learned from it.

How Do Misdemeanor Charges Get Elevated?

To be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor, you usually have to commit a crime that qualifies as such. However, there’s also a possibility they elevate your current charges.

According to Arizona law, if you repeatedly commit the same misdemeanor offense within 24 months, your charge will go to the next highest classification. That means you can receive multiple convictions with a class 1 misdemeanor.

Your jail time could increase by sixty days because of your repeated violations.

Also, note that committing multiple class 1 misdemeanors can lead to a bad outcome. If your charge goes to a felony, you could receive a larger fine and a longer stay in prison.

Officials can also elevate petty offenses to misdemeanors. Repeated offenses can turn into class 3 misdemeanors, but they usually don’t go beyond that.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Class 1 Misdemeanors?

Whether you’re the one charged with a class 1 misdemeanor or the party pursuing a class 1 misdemeanor charge against someone else, it’s important to know about the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations can be the factor that determines if a case can move forward or not. It’s important to know all about it.

Most of the time, the statute of limitations in class 1 misdemeanor cases is one year from the date when the offense in question occurred. That should provide you with more than enough time to gather what you need to file a case against another party.

In some cases, they extend the statute of limitations. That can happen if the violation in question led to someone being seriously injured or dying. DUI and assault cases are prime examples of this.

For those particular cases, they double the amount of time given to plaintiffs. You will be given up to two years to file your case.

You also have cases that are known as wobblers. Wobblers are cases that they can pursue as either class 1 misdemeanors or class 6 felonies.

What’s interesting about wobblers is that they have greatly extended statutes of limitations. The two-year limit no longer applies to them. A plaintiff will have up to seven years to file their case if they view it as a wobbler.

How Will Class 1 Misdemeanor Proceedings Progress?

Criminal proceedings related to class 1 misdemeanors can take a long time or be completed rather quickly. That will depend on how you want to proceed.

Defendants who decide to enter a plea agreement can get their legal issues sorted out faster. Of course, accepting that plea agreement does mean that you will receive some penalties. The prosecutor may also require you to acknowledge committing the crime.

If you decide against entering a plea agreement, then you will probably be scheduled for an arraignment, pre-trial conferences, hearings, and a trial. You may receive the maximum penalties by not accepting the plea deal, but you may also avoid them altogether by going this route.

Fighting a class 1 misdemeanor charge can be difficult, but you can make it more manageable by partnering with the right lawyer. Contact us at the Schill Law Group today and allow us to help in your defense.