Assault is a crime that prohibits individuals from intentionally hurting others or placing them in fear of immediate injury. There are several different types of assault in Arizona, with the most basic being misdemeanor assault or simple assault. However, there are also a few ways someone can commit a misdemeanor assault, all of which are outlined in Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1203. A conviction for misdemeanor assault can be graded as a class 1 misdemeanor, class 2 misdemeanor or class 3 misdemeanor, depending on which subsection applies.
Those facing assault allegations should familiarize themselves with the crime of assault, what the prosecution needs to prove to obtain a conviction, and the defenses to misdemeanor assault that can result in an acquittal. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our dedicated Tempe criminal defense lawyer has more than 20 years of hands-on experience defending the rights of clients charged with misdemeanor and felony assault, as well as other violent crimes.What Is Misdemeanor Assault in Arizona?
In Arizona, misdemeanor assault is explained in A.R.S. § 1203, which provides that someone commits assault if they:
- Intentionally or recklessly cause another person to suffer physical injury;
- Intentionally put another person in imminent fear of physical injury; or
- Knowingly touch another person for the purposes of injuring, insulting or provoking them.
The following are examples of simple assault:
- A man approaches another person on the street, pulls his fist back as though he is about to punch the person in the face, and then walks away.
- A woman uses two hands to push another person against a wall, causing them to bump their head on the wall.
Given the crime’s name, it’s no surprise that a misdemeanor assault conviction results in a misdemeanor being added to your record. However, the seriousness of the crime depends on which subsection the prosecution claims you violated.
Under subsection 1, intentionally causing another person to suffer physical injury under subsection 1 is a class 1 misdemeanor, but if you acted recklessly, the crime would be a class 2 misdemeanor.
Under subsection 2, intentionally placing another in fear of imminent physical injury is a class 2 misdemeanor. And, under subsection 3, knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke them is a class 3 misdemeanor.Defenses to Misdemeanor Assault
Facing misdemeanor assault charges is undoubtedly stressful; however, it is important to familiarize yourself with the various defenses that may be available to you. For example, the following are possible defenses to assault charges:
- You were acting in self-defense;
- You were acting in defense of another person;
- You were acting to defend your property; and
- You did not intend to cause injury, put another in fear of injury, or provoke the alleged victim.
The fact that the other person “started the fight” could be a defense, but that isn’t always the case. Typically, if one person starts an altercation, it justifies some level of response, provided the response is proportionate to the threat. However, escalating a fight into something more serious can result in simple assault—or even aggravated assault—charges.Have You Been Charged with Misdemeanor Assault in Maricopa County?
If you’ve recently been arrested and charged with simple assault in Tempe, Phoenix, or elsewhere in Maricopa County, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Attorney James Novak is a veteran Maricopa County criminal defense lawyer with decades of personal experience defending clients charged with assault and related crimes. He understands the best defenses to assault, when they apply, and how to effectively use them to ensure his clients’ cases end in the best outcome possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call the Law Office of James E. Novak at (480) 413-1499. You can also reach us through our online contact form.