Class Six Arizona felonies are considered “undesignated.” These are charges which can be felonies or misdemeanors depending on the prosecutor’s offer or a judge’s ruling. I discussed such charges previously in my post on understanding Arizona’s undesignated felony system. I am writing this post as it is important to understand that higher level felony charges can sometimes be reduced to an undesignated charge through a plea agreement.
Common undesignated felonies include:
- Felony DUI – no injuries or death
- Aggravated assault – no weapons or injury
- Possession of controlled substances for personal use
- Grand theft
As with all felony charges in Arizona these crimes carry a potential prison sentence. It is important to note, however, that higher level felonies can be reduced to Class 6 charge through plea negotiations with the prosecutor. Such a negotiation will be in an effort to help you avoid a felony on your record. It is important that if you are afforded this opportunity you make the most of it and do well on probation. Keep in mind probation comes with many terms and conditions including search conditions and possible drug testing. Once you successfully complete probation, your lawyer can bring a motion to reduce your case from a felony to a misdemeanor and preserve your permanent record. You must stay in contact with your lawyer and bring the motion in court at the conclusion of your probation in order to obtain this result.
In order for your lawyer to negotiate any charges down to an undesignated felony, it is necessary that several factors are present. First, that no one was injured or killed in the course of events leading to your charge. Second, that you did not personally use a deadly weapon. Third, that you do not have a history of similar or other felony conduct. Your attorney will need to thoroughly review your RAP sheet, the police reports from your current charge and examine any other records (witness interviews, audio/video, medical records) and discuss with you whether or not your more serious felony can be negotiated down.
Other factors that the prosecutor will consider include the presence of certain defenses. If the charge against you arises from a questionable search then this may help persuade the prosecutor to offer you a lessor charge. If you have a credible but imperfect affirmative defense, such as self-defense or necessity, this may also aid your counsel in obtaining a favorable result. Additionally, if the facts of your individual case are particularly sympathetic or out of your character that fact can be helpful in negotiations.
Negotiating charges down is a very sensitive and fact specific pursuit. It is helpful to have an attorney familiar with the local prosecutors and judges and who is experienced in handling these types of negotiations. I handle these types of cases routinely in Phoenix and other Maricopa County areas such as Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Gilbert as well as Pima County residents in Tucson. Call today to speak with an attorney.