In the state of Arizona, an assault charge may be brought as a misdemeanor or as a felony (in cases of aggravated assault). After being accused of an assault crime, then, you may be feeling some confusion. What, exactly, are you being charged with, and what are the legal ramifications? Understanding these details is a crucial part of building your best defense.
Misdemeanor Assault Charges in AZ
An individual may be arrested for a misdemeanor assault if he or she has either put another person in fear of bodily harm, has touched another person with the intent of causing physical injury, or has caused any type of physical injury to someone. Arizona courts categorize misdemeanor assault charges into three separate classes:
Class 3 misdemeanor assaults involve touching another person with the intent to injure or provoke. This carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, and up to 12 months of probation.
Class 2 misdemeanor assaults involve the threat of inflicting physical injury. This type of misdemeanor has a maximum sentence of four months in jail, $750 in fines, and as many as two years of probation.
Class 1 misdemeanor assaults include any physical injury to another person. If convicted, a defendant could receive up to six months in jail, a $2500 fine, and three years of probation.
In order to avoid being slapped with the maximum penalties for a misdemeanor assault, you’ll need to work with a skilled defense attorney from Schill Law Group.
Felony Assault Charges
Assault charges can quickly escalate from a misdemeanor to aggravated assault, which is a class 3 or class 4 felony. Aggravated assault charges are usually brought up against individuals when the following types of scenarios have taken place:
Serious bodily injury and/or substantial disfigurement was inflicted upon another person.
A deadly weapon was used with the intent of placing someone in imminent fear of serious injury.
The assailant committed misdemeanor assault on a police officer, firefighter, teacher, prosecutor, healthcare provider, or prison guard.
A person of at least 18 years of age committed assault on a child aged 15 or younger.
The victim was restrained at the time of the assault.
The assault occurred after the accused entered the private home of another person.
Because felony assault charges are considered to be so serious, they typically carry much graver penalties. Mandatory prison sentencing laws for aggravated assault charges in Arizona mean that first-time offenders could receive 5-15 years in prison. Defendants who have previously been convicted of a “dangerous offense” may face between 10-20 years, whereas a third-time offender could get a term of 15-25 years.
Beyond lengthy prison sentences, a felony charge also carries other penalties. If convicted, a defendant could face exorbitant fines as high as $150,000 and will lose certain civil rights, such as the right to vote and the right to bear arms.
Assault vs Domestic Violence
In cases where an assault occurs between two people who live together or between two people who are in a relationship with one another, it is considered to be a case of domestic violence. In this case, the penalties will differ. For example, a domestic violence charge will require a mandatory 26 weeks of counseling. Having the right lawyer on your team will ensure that you are charged correctly and that you receive the fairest judgement possible.