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What Is Aggravated Assault?

Aggravated assault charges are very serious charges and is considered a felony. It falls under the classification of assault (ARS §13-1203) where you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused any sort of physical harm to another person.

It could be a situation where you intentionally placed another person in the face of imminent harm or you knowingly touched another person with the intent to cause harm, insult, or provoke.

Simple assault charges include minor injuries, touching, and threatening words or behavior.

Assault is considered a misdemeanor, but aggravated assault is considered a felony. If you are ever unsure of your charges, discuss your situation with your criminal defense attorney in Arizona. They will be able to determine if you have been correctly charged.

Circumstances Under Aggravated Assault

These are the many different circumstances that could happen under aggravated assault (ARS §13-1204):

  • When you cause a more serious bodily injury to another person.
  • You used a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
  • You used physical force that caused temporary but substantial disfigurement, impairment, fracture, or loss of any body organ or body part.
  • When the other person is tied up or physically restrained or if their capacity to resist your assault is impaired.
  • When you enter a private home to commit assault.
  • If you are 18 years old and older and the other person is under 15 years of age.
  • You used a simulated deadly weapon.

Assaulting A Public Servant

Under special circumstances, you’ve committed aggravated assault when you have assaulted the other person knowing or having reason to know that they are:

  • A peace officer or someone working for the officer.
  • A constable or someone working for the constable.
  • A firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic.
  • A teacher or person employed at an educational institute either on school grounds or visiting a private home to perform their duties.
  • A licensed or certified health care practitioner.
  • A prosecutor.
  • A code enforcement officer.
  • A state or municipal park ranger.
  • A public defender.
  • A judge.

These individuals are public servants and have to be engaged in their official duties for you to be charged with aggravated assault. It may not seem fair, but because of their status, it will be considered aggravated assault even if you commit ordinary assault on them.

You will be charged with aggravated assault even if you try to take a gun or weapon from a police officer at any point.

For example, you intentionally steal a gun from a police officer while they are trying to arrest you. You know they are an officer because of their uniform.

If you defend yourself against a police officer, it will not be considered self-defense, it will be considered assault and since you are assaulting an officer, whether they are on or off duty, and since they are a public servant, as mentioned above, you will be charged with aggravated assault.

Being charged of aggravated assault in any of the circumstances against another person or against a public servant will result in you being imprisoned or sentenced to a state department of corrections, law enforcement agency, county or city jail.

If you are under 18 years of age, you will be imprisoned or sentenced to the department of juvenile corrections or juvenile detention.

If you know you have assaulted a public servant and you did not mean to commit the assault, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in Arizona to help you fight against your charges.

Other Circumstances Under Aggravated Assault

Domestic violence (ARS §13-3601) is a sentencing enhancement that can attach to your aggravated assault charge due to your relationship with the alleged victim. ARS 13-3601A states that the following relationships may create domestic violence situations:

  1.  The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of marriage or former marriage or of persons residing or having resided in the same household
  2. The victim and the defendant have a child in common
  3. The victim or the defendant is pregnant by the other party.
  4. The victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
  5. The victim is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the defendant.
  6. The relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship.  [The statute goes on to list factors to be used in determining if something was a “romantic or sexual relationship”.] 

ARS §13-3601 defines domestic violence as a violation of any of the following statutes:

13-705             sexual assault of  a minor

13-1102           negligent. homicide

13-1103           manslaughter

13-1104           2nd degree murder

13-1105           1st degree murder

13-1201           endangerment

13-1202           threatening or intimidating

13-1203           assault

13-1204           aggravated assault

13-1302           custodial interference

13-1303           unlawful imprisonment

13-1304           kidnapping

13-1406           sexual assault

13-1425           unlawful distribution of images

13-1502           criminal trespass 3rd degree

13-1503           criminal trespass 2nd degree

13-1504           criminal trespass 1st degree

13-1602           criminal damage

13-2810           interfering with judicial proceedings

13-2904,          subsections A, paragraph 1, 2, 3 or 6 are: disturbing in the peace by fighting, violent or disruptive behavior; unreasonable noise; abusive or offensive language, reckless display of firearm

13-2910, subsection A, paragraph 8 or 9, are:  cruel neglect or abandonment of an animal with serious injury or cruel mistreatment of an animal

13-2915, subsection A, paragraph 3 is to prevent or interfere with use of a telephone in an emergency

13-2916           electronic communication to terrify intimidate threaten or harass

13-2921           harassment

13-2921.01      aggravated harassment

13-2923           stalking

13-3019           misconduct involving weapons in an airport

13-3601.02      aggravated domestic violence (defined as the 3rd DV offense with conviction within 84 months)

13-3623           child or vulnerable adult abuse

ARS 13-3601A states that the following relationships may create domestic violence

If you are 18 years or older and caused serious physical injury or used a deadly weapon against someone who is under 15 years old, it is considered a class 2 felony and you could also be sentenced with Dangerous Crimes Against Children (ARS §13-705) along with aggravated assault.

Once you have been charged with aggravated assault, you need to call your Arizona criminal defense attorney so they can direct you on what to do best based on your situation.

Penalties & Punishments For Aggravated Assault

From all the circumstances of aggravated assault, the punishments and penalties vary depending on the situation.

There are five classes of felony convictions that you can be charged with for aggravated assault. The sentencing ranges for aggravated assault cases varies dramatically. Depending on whether you are a first-time offender, if you have prior convictions, or if a weapon was involved.

If the state alleges dangerousness, even if you have no prior convictions, you are prison mandatory

Examples of class 6 aggravated assault felony are:

  • You knowingly entered another person’s home with the intention of causing physical injury.
  • You’re an adult of 18 years and older and the person you assaulted is under 15 years old.

Examples of class 5 aggravated assault felony are:

  • You tried to take a police officer’s gun.
  • You physically injured a prosecutor.

Examples of class 4 aggravated assault felony are:

  • You caused temporary but substantial disfigurement, loss, impairment, or fracture of any body part or organ of another person.
  • You physically injured another person by cutting off their air or blood circulation.

Examples of class 3 aggravated assault felony are:

  • You caused serious physical injury to another person.
  • You used a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.

Examples of class 2 aggravated assault felony are:

  • You caused serious physical injury to a person under 15 years old.
  • You used a deadly weapon against a prosecutor.

Any assault against a public servant will result in an aggravated assault felony charge, the felony class depends on the circumstances and extent of your assault.

Under any convictions, aggravated assault offenders may be required to pay a fine of up to $150, 000, additional fees, and other penalties that the judge deems necessary.

Get Your Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney To Help You With Your Charges

You need to hire an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney to contest your aggravated assault charges. Numerous defenses could apply such as self-defense, defense of others, necessity, defense of property. It is important to speak to an Arizona criminal defense attorney quickly so that they can locate witnesses, track down evidence, and begin forming early and aggressive trial strategies—so they can set you up with the best possible outcome in your case.