Arizona is known as a state that takes crime very seriously. This is especially the case when it comes to assault and other violent crimes. If you face assault charges in Maricopa County, you need an attorney who will take your case as seriously as you do. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we have more than 20 years of hands-on experience aggressively defending clients charged with all types of violent crimes, including misdemeanor and felony assault.What Is Assault?
Assault is the most commonly charged violent crime. In Arizona, there are a few different ways someone can commit an assault.
- Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly injuring another person;
- Intentionally placing another person in fear of imminent physical injury; or
- Knowingly touching another person for the purposes of injuring, insulting or provoking them.
Anyone who commits one of the above actions will be charged with misdemeanor assault. Depending on the circumstances, assault can be a Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3 misdemeanor. In many cases, those convicted of misdemeanor assault charges can avoid jail time, although that is not always the case, especially for those with a lengthy criminal history.
One of the most important things to understand about the Arizona assault law is that you do not actually need to hurt someone to be charged with assault. For example, pulling out an unloaded gun and pointing it at another person is certainly enough for prosecutors to charge you with assault.What Is Aggravated Assault?
Aggravated assault is a more serious version of assault. To be found guilty of aggravated assault, the government must prove two things, 1.) you committed an assault, and 2.) one of the following circumstances was involved:
- You caused serious bodily injury to another person;
- You used a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
- You caused temporary but substantial disfigurement;
- You committed the assault while the alleged victim was bound or otherwise unable to move;
- You entered another’s home for the purposes of committing an assault;
- You committed an assault against a minor;
- You committed an assault against someone who had an order of protection against you; or
- The alleged victim was a police officer, firefighter, teacher, prosecutor, or another protected individual.
Aggravated assault can be charged as a Class 6, Class 5, Class 4, Class 3 or Class 2 felony, depending on which of the above aggravating circumstances apply.
Prosecutors may also bring aggravated assault charges based on injuries stemming from a DUI accident.Defenses in an Arizona Assault Case
Those charged with assault and other violent crimes have many defenses available to them. Below is a list of the most common defenses to assault:
- Defense of another person,
- Defense of your property or possessions,
- Fabrication, and
- Lack of intent.
While each of these defenses may apply, perhaps the most common defense is self-defense. In Arizona, you are entitled to use force against another person if you believe that force is immediately necessary to protect yourself. However, it isn’t just your belief that’s relevant; the judge or jury must find that your belief was reasonable under the circumstances. Additionally, the force you use in repelling an attacker must be proportionate to the force they are using against you. For example, if someone shoves you at a concert, you may have a hard time claiming self-defense if you pull out a gun and shoot them in the leg.Have You Been Charged with an Arizona Assault Crime?
If you were recently charged with misdemeanor or felony assault in Phoenix, reach out to the Law Office of James E. Novak for immediate assistance. Attorney Novak has extensive experience handling all types of cases involving violent crimes, including assault and aggravated assault. He can help you identify which defenses apply best in your situation to create a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Novak today, call 480-413-1499.