Phoenix Assault Lawyer

If you are facing assault charges, misdemeanor assault, or other assault-related crimes, contact a Phoenix assault lawyer at AZ Defenders today. Our team of defense representation attorneys provides exceptional service and outstanding criminal defense. We offer free consultations and are available to take your call 24/7.

Why Choose AZ Defenders to Defend Against Your Assault Charge?

  • Our assault defense lawyers do everything in our power to secure the best possible outcome for you. We are one of the most aggressive criminal defense firms in America.
  • Our criminal law firm can take your call 24/7.
  • Our Phoenix criminal defense lawyers have a history of success and more than two decades of experience in the criminal justice system.
  • We are a client-oriented firm, providing dedicated, white-glove service and handling every aspect of your case.
  • AZ Defenders is a team of Phoenix criminal attorneys with a decade of jury trial experience.

Types of Assault Charges in Arizona

A person commits assault by engaging in a physical attack or threatening physical harm to another person. Assault is an umbrella term, with many different forms and related penalties under Arizona law.

There are two types of assault according to Arizona Law: misdemeanor assault and aggravated assault. The difference lies in the severity of the crime. The seriousness of the attack and if a  dangerous weapon is used can determine whether the assault is a misdemeanor or a felony Aggravated Assault.

Misdemeanor assaults do not have an aggravating factor, such as the use of a weapon. It is generally a type of assault that uses only the offender’s body, such as a fistfight.

If the act of assault has an aggravating factor, however, it could meet the state’s definition of the escalated charge of aggravated assault. Aggravating factors include the use of weapons, the use of deadly weapons, choking someone enough to stop their ability to breathe, or causing a serious physical injury like a broken bone or a permanent scar.  You can also be charged with Aggravated Assault if you hurt someone in an auto accident while impaired. Aggravated assault comes with harsher penalties than misdemeanor assault in Arizona.

What is “Assault and Battery” in Arizona?

In a popular expression, you may have heard of someone threatening to sue another person for assault and battery. In some cases, this can describe a single act, while in other situations assault and battery are different from each other.

Legally speaking, the difference between an assault and a battery is that an assault does not always use physical force nor always require the victim to be physically harmed. An attempt to harm someone, or threatened force against that person, is enough to raise the possibility of at least a misdemeanor assault charge in Arizona.

The term “battery,” by contrast, refers to a situation in which physical contact occurs with the victim. The physical contact does not need to result in injury; contact meant to insult or provoke another person will suffice. An assault, such as a threatened use of force, can precede a battery when that threatened force is applied. In this situation, “assault and battery” are possible charges that can arise from the same incident.

Arizona does not use the term “battery” in its criminal statutes. Instead, as we will see below, under Arizona law, battery is considered Aggravated Assault.

Assault and Battery as Civil Offenses in Arizona

In addition to constituting the offense of assault under Arizona criminal law, assault and battery are both actionable in Arizona as civil causes of action.

For example, because a criminal assault case and a civil lawsuit for assault are distinct actions based on different bodies of law (statutory and common law), with different plaintiffs (the government and the civil plaintiff) seeking different remedies (criminal penalties versus victim restitution through money damages), it is possible to be convicted of criminal assault and found liable for civil assault based on the same act.

Misdemeanor Assault

A misdemeanor assault conviction is a Class 1 misdemeanor if done intentionally and an injury results.

If you injure someone recklessly, rather than intentionally, it is the lesser charge of a Class 2 misdemeanor. It is a Class 3 misdemeanor assault crime if you touched someone but did not cause an injury.

You can also face simple assault charges even if you did not cause a physical injury if the victim was in reasonable fear of imminent danger of physical injury. Simple assault is defined under Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-1203 as:

  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing physical injury to another person (this is a class one misdemeanor when committed intentionally or knowingly, and a class two misdemeanor when committed recklessly).
  • Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury (this is a class 2 misdemeanor).
  • Knowingly touching another person with intent to injure, insult, or provoke that person (this offense is a class 3 misdemeanor).

The penalties for misdemeanor assaults vary according to the degree of the charge. In general, most misdemeanor assault charges come with fines and probation.

A Class 3 misdemeanor assault can come with a maximum punishment of $500 in fines, 30 days in jail, and/or 12 months of probation. Class 2 comes with a maximum sentence of $750 in fines, 4 months in jail, and/or 24 months of probation. Class 1 is punishable with up to $2,500 in fines, 6 months in jail, and 36 months of probation.

You could face additional consequences if the courts classify the assault as domestic violence.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault, or felony assault, includes a factor that is more serious or deadly than simple misdemeanor assault. It is a felony crime in Arizona rather than a misdemeanor, with harsher penalties.

You might face aggravated assault charges if you used a weapon or dangerous instrument, or if the victim suffered life-changing personal injuries. As covered in Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-1204, assault is aggravated when:

  • It causes serious physical injury or substantial temporary disfigurement
  • A deadly weapon or dangerous instrument is used to commit the offense
  • A victim is bound or restrained
  • An adult assaults a minor under 15 years of age
  • A person enters a private home to commit assault
  • A police officer, firefighter, or other officer is assaulted

A serious physical injury is one that comes with a reasonable risk of death. It can also describe any injury that permanently scars or disfigures the victim, as well as one that causes serious impairment or the loss of function in an organ or limb.

A serious injury must cause more than temporary impairment. A deadly weapon is one suitable for lethal use. A gun is an example of a lethal weapon, even if it is not loaded. A dangerous instrument can be anything used or threatened to be used that is capable of causing serious injury or death.

Aggravated Assault Penalties

The State of Arizona refers to the crime of battery as aggravated assault. The identity of the victim, measures used to commit the crime, injuries sustained, and your alleged intent could all determine whether you receive a simple or aggravated assault charge in Arizona.

A conviction for aggravated assault is more serious than simple assault. It is a felony crime in Arizona that can come with many severe penalties. If convicted, this type of assault can be charged as a class 2 felony, which could lead to a prison sentence of up to 21 years.

The punishment for felony assault in Arizona will depend on the classification of the crime:

  • Class 2 Felony: Prison sentence ranging from 7 to 21 years, with a presumptive term of 10.5 years.
  • Class 3 Felony: Prison term up to 15 years, with a presumptive term of 7.5 years.
  • Class 4 Felony: Prison term of 4 to 8 years, with a presumptive term of 6 years.
  • Class 5 Felony: Prison term of 2 to 4 years, with a presumptive term of 3 years.
  • Class 6 Felony: Prison term of 18 months to 3 years, with a presumptive term of 27 months.

On top of a prison sentence, you could face up to $150,000 in fines, mandatory probation, community service, and restitution. Having a felony conviction on your record could also take away some civil rights, including the right to vote and bear arms.

A judge will consider the nature of the crime, the defense presented, the attitude of the defendant, the injuries of the victim, the defendant’s prior criminal record, and other factors in deciding on a sentence. First-time offenders may receive greater leniency during sentencing than repeat offenders.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a specific form of assault that is superficially a kind of aggravated assault. Because of its particularly egregious nature, though, sexual assault is a separate Class 2 felony from aggravated assault and it has its own sentencing guidelines built into the governing statute, Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-406.

Reckless Endangerment

Under Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-1201, a person commits endangerment by recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of imminent physical injury or death. Reckless endangerment is an offense that occurs when someone deliberately puts another person at risk of serious harm.

In general, the offender will know of the risks but disregard them. This is a criminal charge with a broad definition in Arizona, meaning many actions and behaviors could constitute reckless endangerment.

  • Reckless driving
  • Excessive speeding or drag racing
  • Drunk driving with a child in the vehicle
  • Serving alcohol to a minor
  • Leaving a child unattended
  • Breaking rules or laws
  • Violating safety regulations at work
  • Abusing a nursing home resident
  • Shooting a gun into a crowd
  • Throwing rocks off an overpass
  • Cutting someone’s brakes

To bring a reckless endangerment charge, the prosecutors must prove that you intended to commit the reckless act and that you knew or reasonably should have known of the risks of committing the act. They do not have to prove that you intended to cause the victim’s specific harm. The act of recklessness itself could be enough to bring this criminal charge in Arizona.

The penalties for reckless endangerment can range according to the classification of the charge. An aggravated Class 6 felony, for example, can come with a two-year prison sentence. Endangerment that involves a substantial risk of imminent death is a class six felony. Otherwise, endangerment is considered a class one misdemeanor.

Threatening or Intimidating

You do not have to physically touch someone to face a criminal assault charge in Arizona. As stated in Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-1202, a person commits threatening or intimidating if he or she threatens or intimidates another by word or conduct to:

  • Cause physical injury to another person or serious damage to another person’s property;
  • Cause, or act in reckless disregard of causing, serious public inconvenience, including but not limited to the evacuation of a building, transportation facility, or place of assembly; or
  • Cause physical injury to another person or damage to the property of another person to promote, further, or assist in the interests of, or to cause, induce, or solicit another person to participate in a criminal street gang, criminal syndicate, or racketeering enterprise.

A misdemeanor conviction can come with 6 months in jail, 3 years of probation, and up to $3,600 in fines. Threatening or intimidating could be a felony charge if it involves street gangs (Class 6). This crime escalates to a Class 3 felony if meant to promote the gang or initiate a new member.

Domestic Violence

Assault could meet Arizona’s definition of domestic violence (Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-3601) if the crime is against a cohabitant of the household or someone else with whom the offender has a personal relationship.

Domestic violence is any dangerous crime against children in the household, a spouse or former spouse, someone currently or previously in a sexual relationship with the offender, the offender’s co-parent, or the offender’s relative by blood or marriage. Assault against any family or household member by another could qualify as domestic violence.

If the assault charge against you involves allegations of domestic violence, you could face additional penalties upon conviction. An aggravated domestic violence charge, for example, is a felony crime punishable by years in prison.

Most first-time domestic violence offenses are misdemeanors, however—punishable with possible fines, probation, jail time, and mandatory counseling. The relationship between you and the alleged victim can determine whether the prosecutor could charge you with domestic violence.

Defenses to Assault Cases

It is important to defend your rights with help from an assault lawyer right away if you are facing criminal charges of any kind. An attorney can immediately start protecting you as a defendant, telling you what to do and say to minimize the penalties you might face for an alleged assault crime.

Your lawyer can assess your situation, search for possible defenses, and create a strategy that is suitable for your unique case. A number of defenses can be raised against charges of assault.

A skilled Phoenix assault lawyer can raise the following:

  • No proof of intent, recklessness, or other mental state required for conviction. The prosecutor has the burden to prove that your alleged actions fulfill the definition of assault. This includes proving your intent to commit the crime in question.
  • Insufficient evidence. Another part of the defendant’s burden is to prove you are guilty of committing the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Your defense attorney may be able to show that the prosecutor does not have enough evidence to prove his or her claim.
  • Suppression of evidence due to violations of the Fourth, Fifth, or Sixth Amendments. Your Phoenix assault attorney might be able to call for the inadmissibility of evidence against you due to civil rights violations while collecting the evidence, such as unlawful search and seizure.
  • Self-defense or defense of others. Your lawyer might tell you to agree that you did commit assault, but that you had legal justification in doing so due to the threatening or dangerous actions of the alleged victim. The defense of crime prevention or defensive display of firearms might also be appropriate.
  • Defense of property, consent, privilege, mistaken identity, alibi, involuntary intoxication, lack of knowledge of status (i.e. not knowing the victim was a police officer) and other defenses might also be possible in your case. The right defense could reduce the charges against you, lead to lesser penalties, or enable you to avoid a criminal conviction altogether. Consult with a Phoenix assault lawyer to discuss your possible defenses and the future of your case. Each case and defendant is unique.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Assault Attorney in Phoenix

Having an experienced Phoenix assault lawyer by your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your assault case. If you have been charged with assault or an assault-related crime in Phoenix, call the Phoenix assault attorneys at AZ Defenders as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation. We are available 24/7 to take your call at (480) 456-6400.

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