Seriousness of Assault Charges
Usually, a simple assault case is classified as a misdemeanor offense. However, an assault can quickly become more serious and be charged as a felony aggravated assault with a certain set of facts. Aggravated assault in Arizona is defined as an unlawful encounter between two people where one person commits simple assault, with the intent of causing serious bodily harm or when the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument is used.
Aggravated Assault on a police officer, prosecutor, teacher or medical provider
A simple assault can also be charged as a felony aggravated assault if the alleged victim is a police officer, a prosecutor, a detention officer, a medical provider or even a teacher. It is not necessary that the government prove that you actually injured a person to be charged and convicted of felony aggravated assault. In fact, all that is required is that you knowingly touched another with the intent to injure, insult or provoke another if the victim was in the special category of protected people.
Recently, Arizona laws have changed and made aggravated assault on a police officer a much more serious crime. Now, a simple assault on a police officer is classified as a class 5 Felony offense and carries a maximum penalty of 2.5 years in prison. If the police officer was injured in the altercation, including injuries such as a bruise or a red mark, you may be facing a class 4 Felony offense that carries a maximum of 3.75 years in prison.
Aggravated Assault in Phoenix may require mandatory prison time
If you are being charged with an aggravated assault in Phoenix, you may be facing mandatory prison time. This is true even if nobody was ever injured in the assault. For example, if a person is being charged with pointing a deadly weapon such as a gun or a knife at another person, you may be facing a minimum of 5 years in prison.
If you are being charged with a crime where a serious injury occurred, you may also be facing mandatory prison time. This often occurs even when you did not mean to seriously injure the alleged victim. Examples of this crime can include a simple bar fight where the suspect hit another person with a beer bottle or other deadly instrument or if you are involved in a car accident after you had been drinking. Having an experienced and aggressive attorney is vital to your defense when facing an aggravated assault charge in Arizona. Hiring the right lawyer for your aggravated assault charge may be the difference between your freedom and a prison cell.