Assault is a serious crime and can result in severe penalties if you are convicted. If specific circumstances where present, the charge may increase to aggravated assault. This is a felony
. Any criminal conviction can impact your life, but felony convictions have even more severe consequences.
More information about aggravated assault:
ARS 13-1203: Assault
Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 13-1203
lists three different acts that fall under the legal definition of assault:
- “Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” causing physical injury to someone, which is a class 1 misdemeanor
- “Intentionally” making another person reasonably fearful of physical harm, which is a class 2 misdemeanor
- “Knowingly” touching someone with the intent to “injure, insult, or provoke” them, which is a class 3 misdemeanor
ARS 13-1204: Aggravated Assault
If an act meets the definition of assault in ARS 13-1203 but also involved any of the circumstances outlined in ARS 13-1204
, it may be prosecuted as aggravated assault.
Possible aggravating factors include:
Severity of Injuries
It is an aggravating factor if an assault caused “serious physical injury.” ARS 13-105
defines this as physical harm that leads to a reasonable risk of death, “causes serious and permanent disfigurement,” results in “serious impairment of health,” or causes the loss or long-term impairment of an organ or limb.
An assault may also be a felony if it results in “temporary but substantial” disfigurement, loss, or impairment of an organ or body part. This includes any fracture.
Deadly Weapon, Dangerous Instrument, or Simulated Deadly Weapon
The definition of aggravated assault includes the use of a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument, or simulated deadly weapon. ARS 13-105 defines a deadly weapon as any object that is designed for lethal use, including firearms. This statute defines a dangerous instrument as something that could readily cause death or serious physical injury under the circumstances that the perpetrator used it or attempted/threatened to use it. Note, this can include motor vehicles.
The charge can increase to a felony if the victim was bound, physically restrained, or otherwise substantially limited in their ability to resist.
Entering a Private Home
Entering a private home in order to commit assault elevates the charge to aggravated assault. This may also fit the definition of burglary.
This is a separate crime that involves entering someone else’s property with the intent of committing a felony.
Violation of a Protection Order
Committing assault on someone who currently had an order of protection (restraining order) against you is a potential felony.
Type of Victim
If you are 18 years of age or older and commit assault on a minor under the age of 15, this is an aggravating factor.
Additionally, it may qualify as aggravated assault if you knew or should have known that the victim was:
- A peace officer (sheriff, police officer, etc.) or constable, or a person one of these individuals summoned and directed. In addition, attempting to gain control of an officer’s firearm, weapon, or any other implement they would use to restrain or injure an individual is a separately defined form of aggravated assault under this statute. This does not include handcuffs.
- A firefighter, fire investigator or inspector, emergency medical technician (EMT), or paramedic while engaged in official duties. The statute also covers someone summoned and directed by one of the previous individuals.
- A teacher or school employee, if the assault occurred on school grounds, adjacent to school grounds, or in a building or vehicle used for school purposes. The statute includes assaults that occurred while a teacher is participating in an organized and authorized classroom activity away from school grounds. Additionally, this law applies when a teacher or school nurse is visiting a private home to perform their professional duties.
- A health care practitioner or someone summoned and directed by them while engaged in professional duties. Note that this portion of ARS 13-1204 does not apply if the person who committed assault is seriously mentally ill (see ARS 36-550) or is afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.
- A prosecutor, code enforcement officer, state or municipal park ranger, public defender, or judicial officer who is executing official duties.
Consequences of Aggravated Assault
Each type of aggravated assault can have different potential penalties and the charges you face can depend on the specific circumstances of your case. With so much to consider, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. We can help you achieve the best possible outcome.
Are You facing aggravated assault charges? If so, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.