Posted on April 14, 2023 in assault & violent crimes
Arizona’s assault laws make attacking or causing physical injury to another person a misdemeanor or felony crime, depending on the circumstances. If the victim is a medical professional who was engaged in the execution of official duties at the time of the assault, a recent law change in Arizona makes this crime a felony, up from its previous classification as a misdemeanor. This means heightened sentences and penalties for offenders.
Arizona House Bill (HB) 2538 recently changed the classification of assault of a health care practitioner from a misdemeanor to a felony. More specifically, it upgraded the criminal classification of assault against a medical professional from a Class 6 undesignated felony to a Class 5 felony. As a Class 6 undesignated felony, this crime was often pleaded down to a misdemeanor. Now, as a Class 5 felony, the odds of it being downgraded to a misdemeanor are much lower.
The legal definition of a health care worker is a professional who is certified or licensed to practice medicine, or a person summoned and directed by a licensed health care practitioner while engaged in professional duties. Any licensed professional who is employed or contracted to work at a health care institution can qualify as a health care worker. This includes a nurse, physician, physician’s assistant, paramedic or emergency medical technician.
Arizona’s definition of assault as stated in Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) Section 13-1203 is intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing physical injury to another person, putting another person in reasonable fear of imminent physical injury, or touching another person with intent to injure, insult or provoke the person.
Aggravated assault against a health care worker can result in a prison term of two to four years, with a presumptive sentence of three years. If the medical professional was seriously injured, the charges may be enhanced to a Class 4 felony. This can result in a longer prison sentence and other enhanced penalties, including a fine, probation or community service.
Assault of a medical professional is a serious crime in Arizona. If you get arrested on suspicion of these charges, protect yourself by hiring a Mesa criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can create a defense strategy to argue against the charge based on your unique circumstances. Potential defense options may include:
If you or a loved one has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a medical professional, contact AZ Defenders for a free case consultation with a criminal defense attorney. We can customize your defense according to the evidence against you, your criminal background and other factors to achieve the best possible case results on your behalf.