Under Arizona’s laws, misdemeanors are crimes punishable by up to six months in county or local jail. More serious crimes, called felonies, are punishable by state prison terms of one year or more.
For more information on felonies in Arizona, see Arizona Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Misdemeanors in Arizona may be designated as Class 1, 2, or 3. If lawmakers fail to designate a misdemeanor, then it is punishable as a class 2 misdemeanor. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-601, 13-602.)
Class 1 Misdemeanors
A class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-707, 13-802.) Prostitution is an example of a class 1 misdemeanor.
For more information on prostitution and related crimes, see Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in Arizona.
Class 2 Misdemeanors
Class 2 misdemeanors in Arizona are punishable by up to four months in jail and a fine of up to $750. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-707, 13-802.) Intentionally exposing another person to an infectious disease is a class 2 misdemeanor.
For more information, see Transmitting an STD in Arizona.
Class 3 Misdemeanors
Class 3 misdemeanors are the least serious misdemeanors in Arizona. They are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. (Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-707, 13-802.) For example, asking a person to buy, sell, or give you alcohol if you are under the age of 21 is a class 3 misdemeanor.
For more information on this and related crimes, see Arizona Minor in Possession of Alcohol Charges and Penalties.
Expunging an Adult Criminal Record (or Setting Aside a Conviction) in Arizona
It is not technically possible to expunge – that is, erase or seal — an arrest or charge on an Arizona criminal record. Your criminal history will remain on the books until you reach the age of 99, even if you have completed probation. Under certain circumstances, however, you may obtain some of the benefits of expungement by asking to have your conviction “set aside” under Arizona law.
In addition, if your criminal history record contains mistakes, you can have your record corrected.
Can You Have Your Conviction Set Aside?
Arizona does not have an expungement law, but you may be able to have a felony or misdemeanor conviction set aside. A set aside won’t remove the charge or conviction from your criminal record. However, anyone who checks your criminal record — for example, a potential employer — will also see the set aside order. In other words, they will know that you satisfied all the conditions of your probate or sentence, that a court vacated the conviction, and that all the charges against you were dismissed.
Set asides are not available when a crime:
involves the infliction of a serious physical injury
involves a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
requires the defendant to register as a sex offender
includes a finding of sexual motivation
involves a victim under 15 years of age, or
consists of certain driving offenses.
(Arizona Statutes § 13-907.)
To learn more about having a conviction set aside, visit the Arizona Department of Public Safety website or consult a lawyer.
Correcting a Criminal Record If You Were Wrongfully Charged
If you were arrested, indicted, or charged for a crime and then cleared of all charges, you may ask the superior court to note on your criminal records that you were cleared. (Arizona Statutes § 13-4051.)
Correcting Other Mistakes in Your Criminal Record
To correct most mistakes on your criminal history record in Arizona, you should contact the Arizona Department of Public Safety and request a Record Review Packet. You can correct your record by completing and submitting a form called “Review and Challenge of Arizona Criminal History Information,” which you will find in the review packet. The state criminal records agency will review your form and, if corrections are necessary, it will update your record. For more information, visit the Arizona Department of Public Safety website.