If you are charged with an assault in Scottsdale, you could be facing serious consequences that can impact your future. You may think you are safe from being accused of assault if you refrain from hitting or hurting another individual, but that’s not necessarily the case. It is more common than you may believe for a person to be charged with an assault falsely, or due to another person’s perception of their actions. It is important to understand what is considered assault under Arizona law and what your options are if you are charged.
Definition of Assault in Arizona
There are different types of assault under Arizona law, including three levels of misdemeanor assault and several levels of aggravated or felony assault. To be charged with simple or misdemeanor assault, all that must occur is a person threatens or insults another individual, or puts them in the way of harm. If it is seen as intentional or trying to provoke the person, assault can be charged. The three levels of misdemeanor assault under A.R.S. 13-1203 are:
- Class 3 misdemeanor: Touching another person with the intent to provoke, insult, or injure them. “Touching” can be any contact, not necessarily causing harm. This can lead to up to 30 days in jail and fines of $500 or more with surcharges.
- Class 2 misdemeanor: Intentionally putting a person in danger of harm or injury. Pushing a person into a busy street could be an example. This can lead to jail time of up to four months and fines of up to $750 or more with surcharges.
- Class 1 misdemeanor: Purposely or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person. You could be charged with assault for tripping a person if they claim you did it knowingly or intentionally. This can lead to jail time of up to six months and fines of $2500 or more with surcharges.
The problem with assault charges is they are not always substantiated with more than the supposed victims claims. One minute you could be having a disagreement with a person on the street in Scottsdale and the next thing you know, you could be arrested for assault, even if a physical fight did not occur. It is up to you to defend yourself and protect your record, even when you do not believe you did anything wrong.
As scary as it can be to get charged with a misdemeanor assault, it is even worse when it is an aggravated or felony assault charge. Even a first offense can mean a prison sentence of 5-15 years and a permanent felony charge on your record, with repeated offenses leading up to 25 years in prison. While many felony assault charges can involve serious harm to another person, some are only misdemeanor assaults that are committed against the wrong person. You can be charged with a felony assault if you commit a misdemeanor assault against someone 15 or younger (if you are 18 or older), a police officer, teacher, health care provider, fire fighter, prosecutor, or prison guard. Other circumstances that elevate an assault to aggravated under A.R.S. 13-1204 include:
- When the assault occurs trying to enter someone’s home
- If the person is restrained
- If the person is intentionally put in harm’s way due to a deadly weapon
- When serious harm is caused to the victim
- If a person is threatened or intimidated who is a witness to a crime, or by a person involved in criminal activity
- If the action causes public panic or inconvenience, such as falsely creating the need to evacuate a building
Once elevated to a felony assault, a person can be facing severe consequences that can alter their life, which is why having a good legal defense is so important.
Defending Yourself Against Assault Charges in Scottsdale
It is often the intention of the individual that is under scrutiny when an assault charge occurs. The person accusing you of assault is often believed if they say they felt threatened or intimidated, even if that was not your intent. A good legal defense is needed to uncover the facts of what happened and the intentions behind any actions or conversations that occurred. Often, it is a misunderstanding or exaggeration by the accuser that can be revealed by the defending attorney to get the charges reduced or dismissed altogether.
Assault charges, misdemeanor or felony, are serious and should never be taken lightly. The stain on your record could impact your future employment opportunities and much more. If you or someone in your family is charged with assault, or aggravated assault in Scottsdale, call our team at Matthew Lopez Law for a free consultation. We can help you fight your assault charges to get the best outcome possible to protect your future.