How Are Different Levels Of Assault Charges Defined In Arizona?
There are three kinds of versions of a simple misdemeanor assault. The first is what you would imagine; it is intentionally causing an injury to another person. That can include pretty much anything other than broken bones, or very serious physical injuries, such as bruising, slashing, cuts, scrapes as little as a red mark which can suffice as an injury to anyone. It does not have to be a permanent injury. The traditional way that assault is committed, is more like kicking, punching, slapping, all of those issues. The second way assault is committed is putting someone in reasonable apprehension of being assaulted, as if someone raises a hand as if they were about to slap someone. In that case, the victim, the person being assaulted felt like they were about to be hit, then that can be considered assault under the law, even though it did not result in an injury, or an actual touching. It is the apprehension of almost being assaulted.
So throwing a punch, but missing, attempting to hit somebody, and missing, the action itself places someone in fear of being assaulted, which can count as well. Then the third way that you can be guilty of assault is probably the hardest to prove, at least from my experience as a prosecutor. I always found it to be hard, touching someone in any way that insults, injures, or provokes him or her. If I just put my hand on your back, then you may not appreciate that. You may not like to be touched, but it might not qualify as assault, because my intention when I touched someone has to be to insult either him or her, so I know that it is going to be an offensive touching to him or her. Maybe for religious purposes, or some other type of purpose that I am giving them a tap, or a shove, because I am trying to provoke them into a reaction, a fight, or I am touching them even in a non-punching, or hitting way where I know I might hurt them.
A good example is I know somebody already is hurt, so I poke his or her injury, it results in more pain, and that was my intention. Therefore, assault is focused on the intention of the person committing the crime, because the same action without the intent is not a crime.
What Are The Potential Penalties For Assault Convictions In Arizona?
In Arizona, the first assault being the injury assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor as with any Class 1 misdemeanor. You can be placed on probation, and a fine may be imposed up to $2,500 plus the surcharge. You can do up to six months in jail, with anger management classes, and things of that nature. If it is a domestic violence related offense with regard to assault, then there would be additional terms, and conditions in counseling. Therefore, that would be your standard assault. The reasonable apprehension assault is a class 2 misdemeanor, and essentially that reduces the exposure in terms of fines, and jail time. I cannot remember for sure, I want to say that the jail time goes down to around four months, there may be less, but I cannot say for sure.
The class 3 misdemeanor, which is the insult, injury, or provoked assault, reduces the amount of jail time, and fines. You can be placed on probation, fined, jailed, and ordered to do various types of counseling, like anger management classes, and things of that nature that may be appropriate to the offense. If the offense involves any kind of substance abuse, or domestic violence, then all of those factors are considered in what type of probation, counseling, or classes may be ordered as part of that.
Does A Victim Have To Be Injured In Order For Assault Charges To Be Brought?
No, absolutely not, there does not have to be injuries present in an assault case. I just did a trial this past winter where my client was charged with aggravated assault. The allegation was that he drew his gun, and pointed it at the victim in our case. We were arguing self-defense, but if he had drawn that weapon, pointed at someone, and made him or her feel like he was going to use it, or that he could use it, that alone is an aggravated assault. If he pulls the trigger, and hurts someone, that is still an aggravated assault. It would still be charged the same exact way as a class 3 dangerous felony. That is where the prison range is available for the judge to say, “Hey, you’re going to be on the lower end of things, because you didn’t shoot the gun, or you didn’t hurt anyone as opposed to someone that may have actually wounded or hurt someone.” They would be probably exposed to a higher range within that same charge.
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