If you have been accused of assault and are wondering whether or not your assault charges constitute a felony, the type of assault you were charged with is of the utmost importance. For example, simple assaults in Arizona are defined as either:
- Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person
- Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury
- Knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke such person
These traditional definitions of simple assault are defined by Arizona statute (A.R.S 13-1203), but these are Class 1, 2 and 3 misdemeanors. However, misdemeanor assaults may be upgraded to what is known as aggravated assault when certain “aggravating” factors are found to have taken place during the alleged assault. Aggravated assaults are felonies under Arizona law. The serious penalties that may result from an aggravated assault conviction require the help of an Arizona criminal defense lawyer who fights to get the aggravated assault charges reduced or dismissed.
What Is Aggravated Assault?
Arizona statute A.R.S. 13-1204 sheds light on how an assault may be upgraded to a felony aggravated assault. Broadly speaking, anyone who knowingly, recklessly or intentionally provokes, injures, insults or causes physical injury or harm to another person may be charged with aggravated assault. More specifically, the following behaviors or actions may lead to a felony aggravated assault conviction:
- The defendant causes serious physical injury to another
- The defendant uses a deadly weapon or uses a dangerous object as a weapon
- The defendant commits assault by means of any force that causes temporary but substantial disfigurement; temporary but substantial loss; impairment of any bodily organ or body part; fractures any body part
- The defendant assaults the victim while the victim is bound, physically restrained or while the victim’s ability to resist the assault is substantially impaired
- The defendant entered the private residence of another individual with the intention to commit assault and proceeds to commit said assault
- The defendant was 18 years or older at the time of the assault and committed the assault on a child under the age of 15
- The defendant committed a misdemeanor (“simple”) assault while violating a valid restraining order or order of protection
- The defendant gained control or attempted to gain control of an Arizona police officer’s firearm or other weapon
- The defendant assaulted a police officer, peace officer, constable firefighter, emergency treatment paramedic, teacher, school employee or licensed healthcare professional engaging in their occupational duties
- The defendant assaulted a public defender or criminal prosecutor
Penalties for Aggravated Assault
Depending on the severity of the aggravated assault, the felony may be classified as either a Class 6 felony to a Class 2 felony (the lower the number, the more severe the felony penalty is likely to be).
First-time aggravated assault convictions lead to the following penalties:
- Class 6 Aggravated Assault: Prison sentences ranging from 18 months to 3 years and a presumed prison sentence of 27 months
- Class 5 Aggravated Assault: Prison sentences ranging from 2 to 4 years and a presumed prison sentence of 3 years
- Class 4 Aggravated Assault: Prison sentences ranging from 4 to 8 years and a presumed prison sentence of 6 years
- Class 3 Aggravated Assault: Prison sentences up to 15 years and a presumed prison sentence of 7.5 years
- Class 2 Aggravated Assault: Prison sentences ranging from 7 to 21 years and a presumed prison sentence of 10.5 years
Aggravated assault convictions also may lead to heavy fines, restitution to victims, a felony criminal record, and additional costs and fees.
An aggravated assault conviction can overturn a defendant’s life forever. Aggravated assault allegations must be defended by a trusted Arizona criminal defense lawyer who will fight to have the defendant’s charges reduced or dismissed.
Don’t go into your aggravated assault case without a competent lawyer on your side. At Tyler Allen Law Firm, we will work with you on a personal level to give you a reliable, dedicated and experienced defense. Contact us today!