What Is Assault in Arizona?
A person commits assault by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing physical injury to another person; intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury; or knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke such person.
There are two types of assault according to Arizona Law:
- Simple Assault (Misdemeanor);
- Aggravated Assault (Felony).
The difference lies in the severity of the crime.
It is important to note that you can be charged with simple assault even if no harm comes to the person alleged to have been assaulted. Even though many cases of assault involve physical injury, the prosecution need not prove that an injury actually occurred.
Additionally, intention plays an important role in simple assault cases. If a person intentionally assaults another person, and an injury occurs, their assault charge will be categorized as a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if the assault is a physical attack that leads to an injury that occurred due to a reckless act and without intention, the criminal charge will be categorized as a Class 2 misdemeanor.
In the event that an assault occurs without causing an injury, the criminal charge will be considered to be a Class 3 misdemeanor, which is the lowest level of assault in the state of Arizona.
What Is Aggravated Assault?
Aggravated assault is a much more serious crime. It is classified as a felony and carries severe penalties. One instance where an action is typically charged as an aggravated assault is when someone uses some type of weapon or dangerous instrument in the commission of the assault. Additionally, a person may be charged with aggravated assault if the victim suffers a serious physical injury that is life-altering.
According to the statute that defines aggravated assault, Arizona Revised Statutes Section 1204, the following instances give prosecutors grounds to charge an assault as an aggravated assault:
- The assault results in serious physical injury or disfigurement that is significant and temporary;
- A deadly weapon or dangerous instrument was employed in the commission of the assault;
- The alleged perpetrator bound or restrained the victim of the assault;
- The victim of the assault was under 15 years old, and the perpetrator was an adult;
- A person entered a private residence to carry out the assault;
- The victim of the assault was a police officer, firefighter, or another officer.
Because of the seriousness of the charge, anyone facing an aggravated assault charge should contact an aggravated assault lawyer as soon as possible.
What Is Battery in Arizona?
Aggravated Assault and battery are considered to be the same in the state of Arizona.
A regular assault charge becomes an aggravated assault charge if the following conditions are met.
- Serious injury or disfigurement occurs to the victim.
- The perpetrator uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument to put someone in reasonable fear of imminent physical harm.
- The perpetrator commits an aggravated assault on one of the following people.
- ~Police officer;
- ~Elderly person;
- ~Peace officer;
- ~A household member;
- ~Another public servant.
Sometimes, battery charges go hand in hand with resisting arrest charges.
Classification of Arizona Assault Charges
Assault charges in Arizona have a range of classifications depending on the circumstances of each particular case.
Simple Assault & Misdemeanor Assault
Misdemeanor Assault has three classifications:
- Class 3 Misdemeanor Assaults involve knowingly touching another person, either with the intent to injure and assault or provoke such a person. An example of this is poking someone who asks you to stop poking them. You’re not trying to injure them, just provoke them.
- Class 2 Misdemeanor Assaults involve the threat of inflicting physical injury. For example, if you are swinging your arms around carelessly and you cause injury to someone else. Moreover, if someone feels in imminent danger of physical injury, you can be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor assault.
- Class 1 Misdemeanor Assaults include any physical injury to another person done intentionally. If you go up and punch someone, that is an intentional assault.
Aggravated Assault or Felony Assault
Aggravated assault is essentially simple assault combined with one or more “aggravating” characteristics. These characteristics are as follows:
- Serious physical injury or bodily harm has occurred to the victim;
- The perpetrator used physical force, which resulted in bodily injury to the victim;
- The victim was physically restrained or unable to resist;
- Use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
- The perpetrator entered the private home of another person;
- The assault occurred to a minor under the age of 15;
- The assault was against a police or peace officer, or another public servant;
- It violated a domestic violence order of protection;
- Impeding someone’s ability to breathe.
Crimes and intentional torts are considered “aggravated” if certain aggravating factors come into play. These aggravating factors make the situation more serious than it otherwise would have been.
Threatening & Intimidating
Threatening and intimidating have occurred when a person verbally threatens force or physical injury with words that lead a person to believe they will be harmed. It also occurs when someone damages property for the purpose of threatening physical harm.
Endangerment occurs when a person puts someone else in a position or situation where that person faces a substantial risk of suffering physical harm. No harm needs to occur in order to be charged with endangerment.
Differences Between First-Time, Second-Time, and Subsequent Assault Charges
First-time offenders facing assault charges are treated with much more leniency by the state than individuals with a history of assault. The court is more likely to give a first-time offender a lighter sentence or allow them to pursue alternative programs involving no jail time at all, such as probation and counseling.
Additionally, first-time offenders may also see their charges reduced or even dropped under the right circumstances.
On the other hand, if you are charged with assault and you have one or more assaults on your record, the court will be less likely to be lenient and agree to lighter sentences or alternative measures.
Instead, the state and the court are more likely to demand jail time, longer probation times, and higher fines. And the likelihood of having charges reduced or dropped is very low to nonexistent with repeat assault offenders.
However, each case is different, and an experienced criminal assault lawyer in Phoenix can do much for your case, regardless of if it's your first, second, or third time being charged with assault.
Call Our Phoenix Assault Attorney for Legal Representation Today
If you have been charged with assault, call our experienced assault defense lawyers today to schedule a case evaluation at 602-932-1768.
What Are the Penalties for Arizona Assault & Battery Charges in Phoenix?
The severe consequences assigned to felony or misdemeanor assault cases depend on the class of the felony or misdemeanor assigned to them.
Misdemeanor Assault Penalties in Arizona
- Class 3: Up to 30 days in jail with one year probation, restitution, community service, anger management classes, and $500 in fines.
- Class 2: Up to 4 months in jail with two years probation, the same additional requirements as Class 3, and $750 in fines.
- Class 1: Up to 6 months in jail with three years probation, the same additional requirements as Classes 2 and 3, and $2,500 in fines.
Felony Assault Penalties in Arizona
If you are convicted of aggravated assault in Arizona, you will more than likely face some sort of prison sentence. According to Chapters 7 and 8 of Title 13 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, prison time for a conviction of aggravated assault is presumptive. You will also face significant fines if you are convicted.
However, since the circumstances and severity of felony assault cases vary widely, the length of this prison sentence depends heavily on the circumstances of your case. Generally speaking, there are certain factors that can aggravate the nature of your case and lead to harsher treatment from the state and the courts.
Circumstances that influence the amount of prison time you can face include:
- Whether you used a dangerous instrument or weapon during the assault;
- Whether you have prior criminal convictions for assault or another violent crime;
- Whether the victim was under the age of 18 at the time of the assault;
- Whether death or serious bodily injury resulted from the assault;
- Whether the assault was mitigated;
- Whether the assault victim was pregnant when they were assaulted.
Charges for Felony Aggravated Assault
Depending on the degree of felony you are charged with, a conviction for a felony aggravated assault charge can lead to prison terms of:
- 18 months to 3 years for a class 6 felony, with a presumptive term of 27 months;
- 2 to 4 years for a class 5 felony assault conviction, with a presumptive term of 3 years;
- 4 to 8 years for a class 4 felony conviction, with a presumptive term of 6 years;
- 5 to 15 years for a class 3 felony conviction, with a presumptive term of 7 years;
- 7 to 21 years for a class 2 felony conviction, with a presumptive term of 10.5 years.
In addition to prison time, a conviction of felony assault can also lead to fines of up to $150,000. It can also result in significant mandatory probation times, restitution, and terms involving community service.
Additionally, a conviction of a felony in the state of Arizona can lead to the loss of some of your most important civil rights, including the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms and the right to vote.
Charges of Assaulting a Civil Official
If you commit a simple assault against a civil official, the charge gets upgraded to an aggravated assault.
Civil officials include:
- Police officers;
- Fire investigators;
- Healthcare professionals;
- Park rangers;
- Prosecutors, judges, public defenders, or another officer of the court;
Additionally, the assault charges will be upgraded to aggravated assault if you attempt to or are successful in gaining control over the weapon of a civil official, such as their firearm, baton, or taser.
Can You Go to Jail for Assault in Arizona?
Yes. If you commit assault in Arizona, you can indeed face time in jail. However, misdemeanors do not lead to prison time. Prison time is reserved exclusively for defendants convicted of felonies.
As mentioned, the state can charge a person with either a class 1, 2, or 3 misdemeanor assault charge, with the most serious of the three being the class 1 misdemeanor. Jail time for each of these classifications is as follows:
- Class 1 misdemeanor conviction — up to six months in jail and three years of probation;
- Class 2 misdemeanor conviction — up to four months in jail and two years of probation;
- Class 3 misdemeanor conviction — up to 30 days in jail and one year of probation.
In order to charge someone with class 1 misdemeanor assault, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant either intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused physical harm.
To charge a person with a class 2 misdemeanor, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally put someone in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury. The state does not have to prove that the person touched the victim at all.
Regarding a class 3 misdemeanor, the prosecutor needs only prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly touched the victim in an attempt to injure, provoke, or insult. No injury is necessary.
What Other Penalties Exist for Assault Charges?
In addition to jail time for misdemeanors and prison time for felonies, other penalties exist for those convicted of assault, including the following:
- Community service;
- Loss of certain civil rights for those convicted of felonies.
However, opportunities exist that allow misdemeanor assault defendants and some felony assault defendants to participate in alternative programs in place of time behind bars. The purposes of these programs are to offer various types of social services to defendants for the purpose of keeping them out of the criminal justice system.
Some of the programs and resources offered include:
- Domestic abuse counseling;
- Anger management counseling;
- Drug and alcohol treatment and counseling;
- Mental health counseling and resources.
Generally speaking, these resources and alternative programs are more available to first-time offenders to prevent them from re-offending and getting caught up in the criminal justice system.
Additionally, many of these programs are available to misdemeanor offenders in numerous counties throughout the state.
Please peruse the information about some of these programs:
- Maricopa County Attorney's Office: Diversion program;
- Pima County Attorney's Office: Diversion program;
- Cochise County: Adult Diversion program;
- Yavapai County Attorney's Office: Pretrial diversion program;
- Gila County Attorney's Office: Diversion program.
With the help of a Phoenix assault lawyer, a defendant can get access to the appropriate diversion program and avoid jail time altogether. Additionally, a Phoenix assault lawyer can also be instrumental in convincing the court to abstain from levying excessive fines against their client.
Schedule a Consultation with a Phoenix Assault Lawyer
To learn how you can defend against an assault charge, schedule a consultation and case review with one of our Phoenix assault lawyers today.
What Are Possible Defenses to Assault & Battery Convictions?
Working with an attorney for your assault charges will allow you to protect both your legal rights and your civil rights. If you are convicted of the alleged crimes, it’s important to understand that this conviction could greatly affect your personal and financial future. An assault law firm can help you craft the best possible defense for your situation. Some common defenses to assault include the following.
- Self-defense: If the accused only engaged in the actions in question as a form of self-defense.
- Crime prevention: Doing something in order to prevent another crime.
- Defense of others: Defending other people is also a valid defense for assault charges.
- Defense against property damage: If your property or other pieces of property are being threatened.
- Mistaken identity: Witness testimony is often unreliable. If you and your attorney can prove that a witness has mistaken you for someone else, you can use this defense.
- Alibi: Obviously, if you could not have physically committed the crime, you can use your alibi as a valid defense.
- Reasonable doubt: The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the acts in question. You and your attorney must work together to cast reasonable doubt on the prosecutor’s argument.
Each case requires an individualized approach, this is emphasized if you are charged with disorderly conduct. Our attorneys have the skills and legal experience to obtain the best possible result for your case. Contact us today for a free consultation!
Why Choose Our Assault Charge Lawyers in Phoenix, Arizona?
Nobody should try to handle any assault charges in Phoenix, Arizona by themselves. The team at the Law Offices of Brandon White has the experience necessary to handle this for you. When you work with us, you can expect:
- Compassion and understanding;
- A thorough defense strategy;
- Dedication to your case;
- Personal attention.
Our team of accomplished criminal defense lawyers is ready to advocate for you, backed by their extensive knowledge and skill in criminal defense. If you need an assault attorney, our team of attorneys, who are all former prosecutors, are here to help.