You may be surprised to learn that you can be accused of assault without laying a hand on the alleged victim. That’s right; no physical contact is required to make a charge stick. Here are the definitions of simple assault, a misdemeanor, in Arizona’s criminal statutes:
Class 3 Misdemeanor Assault: You touched another person, deliberately and with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke. No injury need to have actually occurred. The penalties can include up to 30 days in jail, a fine, probation, anger management classes (at your expense), probation, and community service.
If you didn’t actually harm the person, your lawyer will need to show that the prosecution has not proven that your intent was to injure, insult, or provoke, which would involve knowing what was in your head at the time. Depending on the circumstances, intention can sometimes be difficult to prove.
Class 2 Misdemeanor Assault: If you intentionally created a situation in which another person was caused to reasonably feel in imminent danger of injury, even if you never laid a hand on the person and there was no physical contact of any kind, you could be charged As long as the prosecution can prove that the accuser reasonable held the belief that a serious injury was about to occur, you can be found guilty of a Class 2 Misdemeanor Assault, which is punishable by up to 14 months in jail, fines, probation, anger management classes, and community service.
Class 1 Misdemeanor Assault: This charge requires the prosecution to prove that you intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly injured another person. The injury doesn’t have to be anything very serious, and could be as slight as a barely visible scratch or bruise. Class 1 misdemeanor assault can get you up to 6 months in jail, a $2500 fine, and up to 3 years of probation.
Aggravated assault is a more serious crime that generally involves real harm or danger to the victim. It is a Class 3 or 4 felony, which means you can do real prison time, usually between 5 and 25 years, depending if you have offenses.
These are some of the elements that may constitute “aggravation” of an assault charge to the felony level:
- Seriously injuring or disfiguring the alleged victim
- Using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument to threaten imminent physical injury, creating the fear of imminent serious harm in the alleged victim
- Restraining the victim during the alleged assault
- Committing an assault after invading a home
- Committing a misdemeanor assault on a police officer, prosecutor, prison guard, firefighter, health care provider, or teacher.
- If you’re over the age of 18 , committing a misdemeanor assault on a child of 15 or younger
If the victim of the assault is a domestic partner of any kind, you will be subject to even greater penalties.
An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Make a Great Difference in Outcome
An assault conviction, even of misdemeanor assault, will saddle you with a criminal record that may create obstacles throughout your life. A felony assault conviction will not only land you in prison; once you get out, it can prevent you from obtaining decent employment, finding housing, financing an education, and more. You’ll lose your right to vote, to own a gun, and to hold public office. Your life may never be whole again after you become a convicted felon. Therefore, you must fight the charges with every resource available to you, beginning with hiring the best qualified lawyer you can find, which means an Arizona Board Certified Criminal Law Attorney.
When the stakes are high, as in a serious assault charge, and you cannot afford to take a chance with anything less than the most qualified defense counsel, call Board Certified criminal defense lawyer Howard A. Snader in Phoenix. Howard has a long history of dismissed and reduced charges with little or no jail time for many of his clients. He is a passionate defender of the Constitution and firm in his belief that the accused are entitled to the strongest possible defense. Call today for a better tomorrow.