Aggravated Assault FAQs
Aggravated assault is an incredibly serious crime, and those who are convicted of the offense are usually sentenced to jail. At the same time, the Arizona aggravated assault statute is incredibly broad, making it relatively easy to commit this serious crime. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our dedicated Phoenix criminal defense attorney has decades of experience standing up for the rights of clients facing violent crimes.
Read on to review answers to some of the most common Aggravated Assault FAQs.
- What Is an Assault?
- No One Was Hurt, Can I Still Be Charged with Aggravated Assault?
- What Are the Defenses to Aggravated Assault?
- Is Aggravated Assault a Felony in Arizona?
- Are You Facing Aggravated Assault Charges in Maricopa County?
In Arizona, there are three ways you can commit an assault:
- Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing another person to experience physical injury;
- Intentionally placing another person in fear of an immediate injury; or
- Knowingly touching another person with the intent to provoke, injure or insult them.
An aggravated assault is simply a more serious version of assault. An assault becomes an aggravated assault if one or more aggravating circumstances apply. The list of aggravated circumstances is provided in A.R.S. § 13-1204 and discussed in more detail below.
Yes. There are several different ways that an assault can become an aggravated assault. Perhaps the most obvious way to get charged with an aggravated assault is to cause another person to experience serious physical injury by assaulting them. However, the following will also turn an assault into an aggravated assault, even if the victim wasn’t hurt:
- Using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument to assault someone;
- Using an object that resembles a deadly weapon to commit an assault;
- Committing an assault while the victim’s freedom of movement is restricted;
- Entering another person’s home with the intent to assault them;
- Assaulting a minor who is under 15 years old;
- Assaulting someone who has an order of protection against you;
- Assaulting a police officer, firefighter, healthcare worker, prosecutor, park ranger, or member of any other protected class; or
- Disarming a police officer.
In each of these situations, the victim doesn’t need to experience even the slightest injury for you to be charged with aggravated assault.
There are many defenses to aggravated assault charges. Which defense applies in your case will depend on the sub-section you’ve been charged under. For example, if you face aggravated assault charges for causing serious physical injury, one of the most common defenses is that the victim didn’t actually suffer serious physical injury.
There are also defenses that can apply to any aggravated assault case. For example, the prosecution needs to prove you intended to either hurt someone or put them in fear of being injured. Thus, if your actions were unintentional, you cannot be convicted of assault.
Another example of an aggravated assault defense is self-defense or defense of others. It is not a crime to engage in what would other be an aggravated assault if you were defending yourself or another person. However, your actions must be reasonable and proportionate to the threat you faced.
Yes, regardless of the sub-section prosecutors charged you under, any aggravated assault conviction is a felony. That said, the seriousness of the offense will depend in part on the specific facts; for example, aggravated assault with a weapon against a minor under 15 is a class 2 felony, whereas aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is a class 3 felony.
If you have an upcoming court date for an aggravated assault case, reviewing a few Aggravated Assault FAQs isn’t going to cut it; you need an experienced attorney who will fight for you. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our Phoenix criminal defense attorney proudly stands by clients charged with very serious crimes, defending their interests at every step of the way. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call (480) 413-1499 or connect with us through our online contact form.