Assault Defenses

Tempe Attorneys for Defenses to Assault Charges

Assault is considered a violent crime. While it is often charged as a misdemeanor, there are situations in which it will be charged as a felony. Whether a misdemeanor or felony, it is important to retain counsel who can build a strong defense. A conviction can go on your criminal record and may affect the sentencing on any future convictions. If you are concerned about defenses, you should call the experienced Tempe assault lawyer James E. Novak. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Novak may be able to use his insights into how prosecutors think to build a strong defense in your case.


A.R.S. section 13-1203 is the Arizona law that criminalizes assault. You can be convicted of assault if you intentionally or recklessly injured someone else. You can also be convicted if you intentionally make another fear physical injury. You’d also be convicted if you knowingly touched someone intending to provoke, insult or injure them. While an assault is often charged as a misdemeanor punishable with a maximum of 6 months in jail, assault can also be charged as a felony.

Defenses to Assault Charges in Tempe

Our attorneys may be able to defeat the charges against you by showing you did not have the requisite state of mind for assault. For instance, if you tripped on an object left on the sidewalk and knocked somebody over as you fell, you didn’t have the requisite state of mind for the prosecutor to prove you “intentionally” or “recklessly” injured somebody else. Similarly, we may be able to show you did not “knowingly” touch someone intending injury, insult, or provocation. This could be appropriate, for example, if you bumped somebody inadvertently in a crowded bar and were then charged.

We may be able to defend you by establishing that you did not cause reasonable fear of an injury. Similarly, our lawyers may be able to defend you on the grounds you did not cause injury or fear of injury.

Self Defense and Defense of Others

Another common defense is self-defense or defense of others. To establish self-defense, we would need to show you reasonably believed you were in imminent danger and that force was needed to stop the danger. To establish defense of others under A.R.S. section 13-406, our attorneys would need to show you threatened force or used it to protect another person. When defending yourself or someone else, you are only allowed to use the amount of force that the person could have used to defend himself or herself.

The critical aspect of both self-defense and defense of others are that you must have acted with force that was proportionate to the threats or injurious actions taken against you or the other person by the alleged victim. We may not be able to show self-defense in a case in which you shot someone who made an offhand remark he would kick your ass, for instance.

Procedural Defenses

Sometimes constitutional or procedural defenses are crucial. For example, if your confession was improperly obtained during a custodial interrogation for which you were not provided your Miranda warnings required under the Fifth Amendment, we may be able to challenge the confession as evidence. Or perhaps you were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and the police conducted an illegal search of your home that resulted in them finding the weapon. In a situation like that, we may be able to bring a motion to suppress the weapon; if granted, this could severely damage the prosecutor’s case by taking away a key piece of evidence.

Retain an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are concerned about securing a strong defense for assault, you should discuss your situation with our Tempe principal James E. Novak. Mr. Novak develops the strongest available strategies for those accused of theft in Phoenix, as well as Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.