Assault is a serious charge, and the repercussions of a conviction can affect your life for years to come, impacting your ability to secure employment and even landing you in prison. Even more serious though is the charge of aggravated assault.
In the state of Arizona, a person can be charged with this crime if they’re involved in an altercation under particular circumstances or with certain individuals. Keep reading to learn what constitutes aggravated assault under ARS 13-1204 and find out what penalties may result from being convicted of this crime.
What Constitutes Aggravated Assault in Arizona?
There are various reasons that an assault may be categorized as aggravated. In general, aggravated assault occurs when one person attempts to cause another serious injury. Unlike traditional assault cases, ARS 13-1204 charges involve additional factors, such as the use of a weapon, the victim’s job or status, the degree of the injury, or the intent of the individual being charged.
Here are some of the many factors and circumstances that may lead an assault to be labeled aggravated:
- Whether the assault caused severe injuries, including disfigurement, bodily organ damage, and bone fractures
- Whether it involved firearms, other deadly weapons, or dangerous objects used as weapons
- Whether the victim was bound, physically restrained, or unable to resist the assault due to some form of significant impairment
- Whether the assault occurred after the perpetrator entered a private residence for the purpose of committing the assault
- Whether the perpetrator was over the age of 18 at the time they committed the crime
- Whether the victim was under the age of 15
- Whether there was a protection order or restraining order in place when the assault occurred
- Whether the assault occurred while the perpetrator was trying to gain control of a police officer’s weapon
Additionally, the status of the assault victim can affect how a case is charged. If a perpetrator assaults one of the following individuals, they may be charged with aggravated assault:
- Police officers
- Peace officers
- Teachers and other school employees
- Health care workers who are engaged in doing their jobs
- Public defenders and criminal prosecutors
Assaulting someone from a protected class can also lead to an aggravated assault charge, provided that the perpetrator knew about their status.
Vehicular Aggravated Assault in Arizona
Not all aggravated assault cases involve a deliberate attempt to cause injury to another party. In fact, the state of Arizona considers a motor vehicle to be a deadly weapon. If you’re driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and injure someone, the charge can be elevated to vehicular aggravated assault because of the reckless behavior involved.
Aggravated Assault Penalties
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding an aggravated assault case, the charge can result in serious consequences. In Arizona, the various types of aggravated assault are labeled as class 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 felonies, with each one resulting in a different range of penalties.
The least serious category, Class 6 convictions come with a sentence of 18 months to three years in prison, with a presumptive term of 27 months. On the upper end of the spectrum, someone convicted of a Class 2 felony faces seven to 21 years in prison, with a presumptive sentence of 10.5 years.
Repeat offenders and those who committed more dangerous offenses tend to face stiffer penalties. Below are some of the possible sentences for someone accused of ARS 13-1204:
Incarceration – Imprisonment terms vary significantly for individuals convicted of aggravated assault in Arizona. Factors affecting sentencing include the victim’s age, the defendant’s criminal record, and the nature of the crime. Moreover, a sentencing judge may opt to impose different penalties at their discretion.
Fines – Depending on the circumstances of the case, the court can impose a fine of up to $150,000 on an individual convicted of aggravated assault.
Restitution – Rather than paying a fine to the court, some defendants are ordered to provide payment directly to the victim of the crime. These funds may go toward medical bills the victim suffered, counseling, or other expenses.
Probation – Probation is a common outcome for aggravated assault perpetrators who don’t have a previous criminal record. If you receive this sentence, expect to meet regularly with a probation officer and attend counseling sessions. You will also need to maintain employment to remain out of prison.
Community service – In some cases, aggravated assault defendants are required to complete a certain number of community service hours as part of their probation. This volunteer work must be done at a court-approved organization or charity.
What to Do If You’ve Been Charged With Assault
Felony aggravated assault is a serious crime that can result in a wide range of penalties, including prison time. For this reason, individuals facing a charge of ARS 13-1204 shouldn’t hesitate to contact an attorney. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will sit down with you to discuss the charges against you and potential penalties. Additionally, they’ll review your possible defense options.
Once hired, an attorney will conduct an independent investigation of the case in order to find any evidence that can be used in your favor. In some cases, the attorney may be able to reduce the charges against you or get them dropped entirely. If the charges can’t be dismissed, your attorney will build a case designed to clear you of the charge or reduce the sentence you receive should you be found guilty. Don’t make the mistake of trying to handle an aggravated assault charge on your own.
Get Help With Aggravated Assault Charges
If you’ve been charged with a crime, then the odds are you’re feeling a great deal of stress and uncertainty. At JacksonWhite Law, we’re serious about helping people accused of aggravated assault and other crimes get their lives back on track. Our attorneys have achieved a number of positive outcomes for clients, including:
- Reducing and dropping charges
- Lessening penalties
- Substituting probation and fines for jail time
Get in touch with our experienced criminal law team today and get the representation you need!
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.