In Arizona, prosecutors take violent crimes very seriously and assault is one of the most common criminal charges. Assaults can arise from all types of altercations and a conviction can lead to jail time or a prison sentence, probation, and fines.
For over 25 years, the Blischak Law Firm has been a leading criminal defense lawyer against assault charges in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, and throughout the state of Arizona. John W. Blischak leverages his decades of experience as a former FBI agent, county prosecutor and practicing attorney to devise successful legal defense strategies.
What is Assault?
Under Arizona law, there are a wide range of assault crimes, from making simple threats of violence to actually inflicting bodily harm on someone. In short, there are four categories of assault, including:
- Misdemeanor Assault
- Aggravated Assault
- Threatening or Intimidating
Regardless of the charges you are facing, a conviction can have serious consequences not the least of which is the loss of your freedom.
There are three classifications of misdemeanor assault, or simple assault, in Arizona:
- Class 1 Misdemeanor – Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person
- Class 2 Misdemeanor – Intentionally putting another person in fear of bodily harm
- Class 3 Misdemeanor – Knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke such person
Moreover, if an assault occurs between two people who are living together or have or had a romantic relationship, it is considered Domestic Violence.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Assault
In Arizona, the penalties for simple assault are severe, including:
- Class 1 Assault Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $2,500 fine
- Class 2 Assault Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 4 months in jail and $750 fine
- Class 3 Assault Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and $500 fine
Additional penalties for all classes include surcharges, costs, court ordered restitution to the victim, completion of anger management courses, probation and other penalties that the court deems necessary.
Far more serious than misdemeanor assaults, aggravated assaults are crimes that involve the following so-called aggravating circumstances:
- Results in “serious physical injury”
- Is committed with a deadly weapon
- Causes temporary but substantial disfigurement or fracture
- If the victim is restrained
- Is committed after entering the private home of someone
- If the victim is a police officer, prison guard, firefighter, prosecutor, teacher, or medical professional
The penalties for aggravated assault depend on a number of factors, however this crime is generally charged as a felony. A conviction for a first offense, for example, could lead to incarceration in state prison for 5 to 15 years. The penalty for a second offense can be elevated with sentencing between 10 to 20 years, and a third conviction can lead to a prison term of 15 to 25 years. A conviction can also lead to fines and surcharges, court ordered victim restitution and other penalties that the court deems necessary. In addition, it will result in a permanent felony criminal record which will have long lasting consequences.
Threatening or Intimidating
An individual who threatens another person with bodily harm or threatens to damage a person’s property can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. If the threat involves inducing another person to become involved in gang activity, a criminal syndicate or racketeering enterprise, however, the charges will be elevated to a class 3 felony. If the threat is in retaliation for someone reporting a crime, such as assault or domestic violence, it can be charged as a class 6 felony.
An individual who recklessly puts someone at risk of imminent death or physical injury may be charged with endangerment. The risk must only be present, and actual physical injury does not have to occur. A threat of physical injury can be charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence of up to one year and fines. A threat of imminent death is considered a felony and is also punishable by up to one year in prison, but which will also lead to a permanent felony criminal record.
Experienced Assault Attorney in Arizona
The Blischak Law Firm has extensive experience defending clients against all types of assault charges regardless of where they live in Arizona.
If you are facing assault charges, we will work diligently to ascertain all the facts of the case, obtain and review the police report, interview all witnesses, and seek out evidence of your innocence.
Ultimately, a successful prosecution typically hinges on the testimony of eyewitnesses who are often not very reliable, which raises a possible defense of mistaken identity. Similarly, if an individual is defending him or herself and did not initiate or provoke the attack, it is also possible to claim self-defense. In order to successfully raise these and other defenses, it is crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. If you have been accused of an assault crime, call our office today at (602) 252-1984 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.