Use of a Weapon in a Threatening Manner
Gun crimes and weapon offenses are extremely serious. However, you do not need to hurt someone with a weapon to end up in hot water. Under various Arizona laws, the use of a weapon in a threatening manner can result in you facing criminal charges. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our Phoenix criminal defense attorney aggressively defends clients facing all types of weapons charges. We are immediately available to meet with you to discuss your options and work towards developing a compelling defense to the charges you face.How Threatening Use of a Weapon is Charged in Arizona
Arizona law does not have a statute that specifically prohibits the use of a weapon in a threatening manner. However, this sort of conduct is criminalized through a few different statutes, depending on the allegations. The two most common ways these offenses get charged are as threat crimes or weapons offenses.
The use of a weapon in a threatening manner can be a violation of A.R.S. § 13-1202, which makes it illegal to threaten or intimidate another person by word or conduct. Under § 13-1202, it is a crime to use words or gestures to convey a threat that you will:
- Physically injure another person or their property;
- Cause serious public inconvenience by evacuation of a building; or
- Cause physical injury or damage to property with the intent to further the interests of a street gang or other criminal enterprise.
As a general rule, a violation of § 13-1202 is a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, there are three situations in which the crime becomes more serious.
The first is if the threatening conduct is made in response to a victim reporting a crime to the police or their involvement in an organization established for the purpose of reporting or preventing criminal activity. In this case, a violation of § 13-1202 is a Class 6 felony. The second exception is if the person making the threats is a gang member. This, too, is a Class 6 felony. Finally, if you used a weapon threatening to cause physical injury or damage to property with the intent to further the interests of a street gang or other criminal enterprise, you will face a Class 3 felony.
Aside from threat crimes, the use of a weapon in a threatening manner can also result in weapons charges being filed against you. For example, under A.R.S. § 13-3102, it is a crime to carry a deadly weapon (other than a pocket knife) on your person or within your control during the commission of a “serious” or “violent” crime. Serious and violent crimes include:
- Aggravated assault,
- Sexual assault,
- Armed robbery,
- Any crime that results in death or physical injury or any criminal use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
In this way, an offense under § 13-3102 is often charged in addition to the underlying criminal act. Punishment for a violation of § 13-3102 is a Class 6 felony, which carries up to 18 months in jail, with a presumptive sentence of one year.Were Arrested for the Use of a Weapon in a Threatening Manner?
If you were recently arrested for threatening conduct, reach out to the Law Office of James E. Novak for immediate assistance. Attorney Novak is a veteran Phoenix criminal defense attorney with extensive experience successfully representing clients charged with all types of weapons offenses. He can help you identify all of your options and work with you to determine the best possible defense. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Novak understands how police and prosecutors approach these cases, giving him valuable insight on the best way to defend against the allegations you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Phoenix gun crimes defense attorney today, call 480-413-1499 today.