What Makes an Assault Aggravated?

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Misdemeanor assault charges can be raised to felony assault charges if there are aggravating factors surrounding the crime. In Arizona, these crimes are taken seriously as they are crimes that cause injury to another person.

If charged with aggravated assault, you will need an experienced assault lawyer to represent you in court and make sure your rights are protected and you will be treated fairly in accordance with the equal treatment provisions stated in the law.

If you need an excellent lawyer in Arizona, you should consider Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law. They’ve handled thousands of clients in their over 30 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney and as a prosecutor. Robert will help you defend yourself and maintain your legal rights.

What Is Classified as Assault?

Assault is defined as three separate possible acts.  (1) Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another person. (2) Intentionally placing another in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury or (3) Knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke the person.

When Is an Assault an Aggravated Assault?

The law in Arizona classifies assaults as either as a simple misdemeanor assault or as an aggravated, which is a felony.  There needs to be more than just the misdemeanor assault before a felony can be charged. Additional factors must exist.

Aggravated Assault in Arizona

In Arizona, the first definition of assault must be met if you are to be charged with aggravated assault. If you have committed any of the following acts from this partial list, the State of Arizona will most likely file an aggravated assault charge.

  • You have seriously injured the person or have used a dangerous weapon in committing the assault;
  • If you use force on the person, causing temporary but substantial disfigurement, loss or impairment of a body organ or part, or fracture of any body part;
  • If you commit the assault while the person is physically restrained or their ability to defend themselves is substantially impaired;
  • You have forcefully entered a home with the intention to assault a resident living there;
  • If you are 18 years or older and commit an assault on a minor under 15 years old;
  • You have assaulted someone who has a judicial restraining order against you;
  • If you assault a public officer including constable, EMT, firefighter, licensed healthcare practitioner, peace officer, police officer, park ranger, public defender or criminal prosecutor, judicial officer, school employee, or teacher, while that person is working in their official duty.

Aggravated Assault Sentences in Arizona

Charges range from Class 2 to Class 6. Class 2 felonies receive the severest penalties, depending on the specific offence. In Arizona, first-time offenders could receive the following prison sentence, although probation is available:

  • Class 6 – 4 months to 2 years (1-year presumptive term)
  • Class 5 – 6 months to 2.5 years (1.5-year presumptive term)
  • Class 4 – 1 to 3.75 years (2.5-year presumptive term)
  • Class 3 – 2 to 8.75 years (3.5-year presumptive term)
  • Class 2 – 3 to 12.5 years in prison (5-year presumptive term)

If the State of Arizona adds the allegation of a dangerous offence, the prison sentence is mandatory and the range of prison time increases substantially.  A dangerous offence involves the “discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or the intentional or knowing infliction of serious physical injury on another person.”

Potential Fines in Arizona

The court can also impose a fine of up to $150,000 for aggravated assault convictions in Arizona. The court will require restitution to the victim for a financial loss, including, but not limited to, medical bills and lost earnings.

What is a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument?

A baseball bat, golf clubs, a tire iron, or a vehicle can be considered dangerous or lethal weapons. An item that may not look dangerous can still be classified as such depending on the circumstances during the assault. Normally, a pen would not be considered a dangerous instrument capable of killing a person, but if the pen was used with the intent to stab somebody, then it could be argued that the pen was a dangerous instrument capable of maiming or killing a person in such a case.

Aggravated Assault Statistics

In their 2017 report, the Arizona Department of Public Safety documented 19,483 aggravated assaults for the year; 8,627 of those were cases where charged. Out of the 19,483 aggravated assaults committed:

  • 1,531 cases – knife or cutting instruments were used
  • 1,630 – involved the use of firearms
  • 2,415 – involved some other dangerous weapon
  • 3,051 – used hands, fists, feet as weapons

Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, is ready to provide you with a criminal defense. If unsure of how you stand legally when facing an Arizona criminal case, trust Robert A. Dodell to protect your rights to the very end. Give them a call now.

https://www.azdps.gov/sites/default/files/media/FINAL_Crime_in_Arizona_2017.pdf