Undesignated felonies in Arizona
I get numerous calls from people convicted of an "undesignated" felony who don't understand why their offense was not designated a misdemeanor after they completed probation. In Arizona, an "undesignated" felony is a Class 6 felony offense where the court has specifically set forth in the sentencing document that the offense is "undesignated."
"Undesignated" means the defendant is given the opportunity to have the offense designated as a misdemeanor at some point in time. Sometimes, it can be designated a misdemeanor at sentencing but oftentimes a plea agreement requires the defendant to successfully complete probation before the court designates the conviction as a misdemeanor. If the court keeps the conviction undesignated at sentencing and then places the person on probation, the offense is considered a felony conviction for all purposes UNTIL it is actually designated a misdemeanor by the court. Even if there seems to be no problems on probation, a defendant should not assume that the court designated the offense a misdemeanor just because a person finished his/her probation. Many times an offense is left undesignated after probation because certain sentencing terms weren't fulfilled, such as owing fines, fees or restitution.
What should you do?
When probation ends, a defendant should always make sure to check if the offense is still an undesignated felony or has been made a misdemeanor. If it still remains an undesignated offense, a defendant needs to inquire as to why it is still undesignated. Have all terms been fulfilled? Were all fines, restitution and fees paid? Did the Defendant remain law abiding during probation? If all conditions were fulfilled or the defendant later fulfills all conditions (i.e. pays off any monies owed), then the defendant can file a motion with the court to designate the offense a misdemeanor. It is very important to have the conviction designated as a misdemeanor so not to have any felony convictions on one's record.
Contact Curry, Pearson & Wooten if you have any questions about this process. Call 602-258-1000