Assault and battery are commonly charged after a brawl or fight. Contrary to popular belief, you can receive an assault charge without injuring (or even touching) another person. Assault simply refers to either threatening or attempting to injure someone, while battery (called aggravated assault in Arizona) involves offensive or harmful physical contact.
It’s important to speak with a criminal defense lawyer if you’ve been charged with one of these crimes.
Assault and Battery Laws in Mesa
Assault offenses in Arizona can be divided into three classes of misdemeanors depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime. Class 3 assault is the least serious while Class 1 assault is considered more serious. For a person to be charged with misdemeanor assault in court, they must demonstrate:
Knowledgeably touched another individual with the intent to provoke, insult or cause physical injury to them. Recklessly caused physical injury without intention.
Intentionally placing another at risk of imminent physical harm. If you have been previously charged with assault within two years, subsequent convictions will incur more severe punishments; for example if charged with class 3 assault the maximum jail term is 30 days; with prior assault convictions from previous years this maximum jail term can increase to 60 days; should they then face class 2 assault charges which impose more stringent punishments.
Class 3 Assault
Class 3 assault is considered the lesser of three assault crimes. To be found guilty, it must be proven in court that someone touched another with the intention to provoke, insult or injure them in some way. Note: an assault charge doesn’t need physical contact to take place – simply intentionally touching someone can result in charges.
Class 2 Assault
Class 2 assault is a more serious form of physical aggression than Class 3 assault and involves intentionally placing another in danger of imminent physical harm. To be found guilty, evidence must show that an act was intentional when placing another individual at risk of imminent injury. To obtain a conviction of class 2 assault it must be shown that a conviction occurred as well as proof that another individual was exposed to harm.
Class 1 Assault
Class 1 assault is the most serious category of assault, and requires that an offender act either with knowledge, recklessness, or intent on another individual resulting in physical harm to another.
Aggravated Assault (Battery)
Arizona law defines battery as an act of aggravated assault, which can be charged as either a class 2, 3, 4, or 5 felony depending on its circumstances. Aggravated assault typically takes place when:
By intentionally using dangerous instruments or weapons to cause someone fear of serious physical harm, committing assault against a prison guard, teacher, hospital staff member, police officer, prosecutor, or another public servant; or inflicting significant disfigurement or physical injury upon another individual, these activities constitute crimes.
Assault and Battery Penalties in Mesa
Class 3 assault is considered the least severe category and may result in up to 30 days in jail and fines up to $500. Class 2 assault is classified as a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to four months of jail time and up to $750 fines, while class 1 assault can result in 6 months in jail and fines up to $2,500.
Battery, commonly referred to as aggravated assault, is classified as a felony offense and can range anywhere from class 2-5 felonies depending on the specifics of each situation. If battery qualifies as a ‘dangerous offense,” mandatory imprisonment could apply – up to 15 years for first time offenses!
Defenses for Assault and Battery in Mesa
If you decide to hire a Mesa assault and battery defense lawyer, they could use a variety of defenses for your case. Self-defense is commonly used for such charges. It requires you to prove that you had an unlawful threat of harm or force used against you, no provocation on your part, a reasonable basis to feel under threat of harm, and no reasonable way to escape or retreat.
In other cases, your attorney could assert that you committed assault in defense of someone else. Similar to self-defense, the only difference here is that you were fearful that someone else would be harmed instead of you. If your legal representative can show that you had reasonable grounds for this concern, it could help you get your penalties dropped or reduced.
As you can see, the best defense for you will depend on the circumstances and details surrounding your case. Your attorney’s job is to help you find evidence to secure a more favorable outcome. The sooner you get in touch with a criminal defense attorney, the better they can assist you.
JacksonWhite Law in Mesa, Arizona
JacksonWhite Law has been serving clients in the Mesa area since 1983. We offer a full range of legal assistance and have plenty of experience navigating cases just like yours with great success. As one of the biggest firms in the East Valley, we work to provide advanced, insightful legal solutions to families, businesses, and individuals throughout the state of Arizona.
From fines, to probation and jail time, being in legal trouble is no laughing matter. It could harm your opportunities in life and even make it harder to find a place to live. Speak with one of our skilled lawyers today to get answers to your questions and to protect your future.
JacksonWhite Mesa Office
Our Mesa office is on the northwest corner of W. Pepper and N. Center Street. You may park on Pepper or in the parking garage nearby.
The Mesa city court is located on the northwest corner of Pomeroy Street and 1st Avenue. You’ll find a public parking garage behind the building, which you can access from Pomeroy or Main Street.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 418-4281 to discuss your case today.