What is an Undesignated Felony?

Undesignated felony.

What is an Undesignated Felony?

Felony offenses are the most serious crimes that can be committed. Arizona subdivides felonies into individual classes depending on the nature of the crime, with class 6 felonies being the least serious and class 2 felonies being the most serious.

Below felony offenses are misdemeanors, with class 1 misdemeanors being just a step below class 6 felonies.

Usually, felony charges are designated, meaning a court cannot change a felony’s class to a higher or lower class.

However, some offenses that would otherwise be class 6 felonies may actually be judged as undesignated felonies by the court, meaning the court can ultimately decide if the crime will be convicted as a class 6 felony or a class 1 misdemeanor. State law outlines undesignated felonies in A.R.S. 13-604.

Felony convictions come with harsh sentences and can cause major issues with background checks. Being able to reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor offense can allow for better future prospects for defendants in terms of employment, housing, child custody, and more.

Which Class 6 Felonies May be Undesignated?

Not all class 6 felonies may be undesignated. That that involve a dangerous offense are not eligible to be undesignated. Dangerous offenses are those which involve the discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or the intentional or knowing infliction of serious physical injury on another person.  Additionally, anyone previously convicted of two or more felony offenses will not be given an undesignated felony.

How Can an Undesignated Felony Be Turned into a Misdemeanor?

Once felony probation and the court’s discharge terms are successfully completed, and before making a judgement to convict the crime as class 1 misdemeanor instead, the court considers the following:

  • The nature and circumstances of the crime.
  • The history and character of the defendant.
  • Whether a felony conviction would be unduly harsh for the defendant.

When May an Undesignated Felony Be Turned into a Misdemeanor?

Undesignated felonies have no chance of being turned into misdemeanors until all probation terms are completed.

Until the court enters an official designation for the offense, the offense will be treated as a felony for the following purposes:

  • Placing the defendant on felony probation.
  • DNA collection.
  • The Defendant’s right to possess a firearm.
  • Being used as a historical prior felony conviction.
  • Being admissible for impeachment purposes in a subsequent trial.
  • Being used to enhance the sentence.

Eligible undesignated felonies may be turned into misdemeanors at any time following completion of probation. It will not necessarily happen automatically.

Requesting an Undesignated Felony be Turned Into a Misdemeanor

The superior courts throughout the state provide packets for those who would like to request an undesignated felony conviction be turned into a misdemeanor:

Maricopa County

All Other Counties with Instructions

Alternatively, the attorneys at Rideout Law Group can also assist with this matter, working with class 6 felony defendants through their cases to have their charges turned to misdemeanors.



With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:

  • charges that are reduced or dropped.
  • top experts reviewing your case.
  • aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
  • fines or probation in lieu of jail time.

At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.

Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.

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