Under Arizona assault law, an assault crime must involve either the threat of physical harm by one person towards another person, or actual physical harm done to one person by another. What this means for you is that you can be charged with assault without ever touching another person. If charged, especially with aggravated assault, you will definitely need to employ a top-notch Phoenix assault defense attorney.
Due to the violent and often shocking nature of assault crimes, Arizona prosecutors and judges will often pursue grave penalties for those charged with these crimes.
Arizona assault law divides assault into two offenses: misdemeanor assault, and aggravated assault. Potential penalties will vary from case to case, depending on the circumstances.
What is Misdemeanor Assault in Arizona?
Arizona assault law defines misdemeanor assault, or simple assault, as having occurred if a person deliberately or recklessly causes an injury to another person, no matter how small the injury. Misdemeanor assault can also occur under Arizona assault law if one person deliberately touches another person intending to cause injury or to insult or provoke the person.
However, you don’t even have to touch another person to receive charges for assault under Arizona assault law. This is the difference between assault and battery in Arizona, also known as aggravated assault. To be assault, the other person only has to be reasonably afraid that they were going to suffer bodily harm. If the other person was injured, the prosecution must have proof that the alleged aggressor intentionally or recklessly caused that injury.
According to the alleged aggressor’s actions, there are three categories of misdemeanor assault:
- Class 1 assault. This is the most serious charge for misdemeanor assault. The prosecution must prove that the alleged aggressor knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly caused physical injury to another person.
- Class 2 assault. The prosecution must prove that the alleged aggressor intentionally caused another person fear or apprehension of imminent physical harm. This does not require the alleged aggressor to have actually touched the other person.
- Class 3 assault. This is the least serious charge under Arizona assault law, and only requires proof that the alleged aggressor touched another person with the intent to insult, injure, or provoke them.
The state raises charges for those convicted multiple times within a 2 year period. Therefore, if you are convicted of assault and then a year later are found guilty of Class 2 simple assault, the state sentences you for a Class 1 misdemeanor.
What are the Penalties for Misdemeanor Assault in Arizona?
Charges of misdemeanor assault can carry a punishment of up to 6 months in jail. This is the maximum incarceration period for misdemeanor assault under Arizona assault law. The state may impose fines of up to $2500, plus surcharges.
Courts also can, and often will mandate additional consequences such as probation and anger management classes or other forms of counseling.
Misdemeanor Assault: Domestic Violence
Domestic violence in Arizona does not have its own category within the state’s assault laws. Rather, it is an enhancement to any charge, including assault.
Therefore, if the state charges you with assault within the context of a domestic relationship, you could incur additional penalties. These might include a restraining order, which could result in the loss of your right to own a gun, even at the misdemeanor level. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you can potentially be deported.
§ 13-1204 of the Arizona Revised Statutes: Aggravated Assault
If the state of Arizona elevates an assault crime to an aggravated assault crime, the charges also elevate to felony charges. There are multiple factors that can cause an assault to be classified as aggravated according to § 13-1204 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, including:
- The assault caused serious physical injury to another person
- The defendant carried out the assault with a deadly weapon or instrument
- The force used to carry out the assault resulted in temporary and substantial disfigurement or impairment
- The defendant committed assault in defiance of an order of protection, i.e., the alleged aggressor attacked someone who had a restraining order against them
- The victim was restrained at the time of the assault
- The alleged aggressor entered a home with the intent of committing assault
- The alleged victim was under the age of 15
- The defendant knowingly assaulted a police officer, constable, firefighter, teacher, or healthcare practitioner
- The defendant committed assault by means of attempting to take or actually taking a police officer’s weapon
- The assault occurred while in custody
- The defendant targeted an official of the Arizona department of corrections or another law enforcement agency
What are the Penalties for Aggravated Assault in Arizona?
In Arizona assault law, anyone convicted of an aggravated assault goes to prison, even if it is their first offense. Aggravated assault ranges from a Class 2 to a Class 5 felony.
Those convicted of aggravated assault can face the following Arizona felony penalties:
- Class 5 felonies are punishable by a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 4 years in prison. If a defendant has any priors on their record, their maximum potential prison time could be raised to 6 years.
- Class 4 felonies are punishable by a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 8 years in prison. Defendants with priors can receive a maximum of 12 years in prison.
- Class 3 felonies are punishable by a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 15 years in prison. Defendants with priors on their record may be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison.
- Class 2 felonies, the most serious of aggravated assault charges, are punishable by a minimum of 7 and a maximum of 21 years in prison. Defendants with priors can receive a maximum of 28 years in prison.
Contact Belen Law Firm for a Free Consultation
Belen Olmedo Guerra is an experienced, aggressive Phoenix criminal defense attorney. She understands how serious and scary assault charges may be. Belen Olmedo Guerra will examine every piece of evidence the prosecution intends to use against you. Though sentencing is very serious for assault crimes, having an experienced Arizona defense attorney on your side is the first step to obtaining a fair and just sentence.
If you or someone you know has been charged with or accused of an assault crime, call the Phoenix violent crimes attorneys at Belen Law Firm at 602-715-0908 or contact us via online intake form for a free case consultation.