What are the penalties for aggravated assault charges?
We all have likely found ourselves in the middle of a disagreement at one point or another. At times, a simple argument can escalate and become ugly. It is natural to become angry during a disagreement. As tempers flare, one party may call the police and this could lead to an arrest for assault. Assault charges are serious and can potentially lead to jail time, penalties, probation, and other penalties. Our Phoenix, Arizona assault defense lawyers explore different assault charges and its potential penalties below.
Arizona law defines simple assault as intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly causing injury to another person or intentionally placing another person in reasonable fear of imminent physical injury, or intentionally touching another person with the intent to injure, provoke, or assault another. Simple assault is a misdemeanor offense that carries a penalty of a maximum of six months in jail, three years of probation, and a $2,500 fine.
Per Arizona law, an aggravated assault occurs when the defendant causes serious physical injury to another person or uses a deadly weapon or another dangerous instrument to commit an assault. If the assault victim is a firefighter, judge, school official, police officer, teacher, prosecutor, healthcare worker, or park ranger this will also escalate a simple assault to an aggravated crime. Alternatively, if the victim is a minor, this will result in a charge of aggravated assault.
Aggravated assault is a felony offense. It is generally charged as a Class 3 felony but can be charged as a Class 2 felony if the victim is a minor. Aggravated assaults that result in serious disfigurement or injury to the victim could become a Class 4 felony. Certain circumstances, such as the disability of the victim, can even elevate the crime to a Class 6 felony.
A first-time conviction for aggravated assault could be punished by between five and 15 years in prison. Second offenses or higher class felonies could carry even longer prison terms. A conviction will also result in the creation of a permanent felony record, probation, and fines.
Defenses Against Assault Charges
There are a number of different defenses you can potentially raise against an assault charge, depending on the circumstances surrounding the charge. Self-defense is a common defense that may be viable if you acted out of fear of injury. Other defenses may involve a lack of evidence, violation of your constitutional rights during the arrest or after, provocation by the victim, and more. Contact a criminal defense lawyer for assistance in crafting your strong assault defense.