The Arizona Certified Criminal Specialist Teaching Other Lawyers
In Arizona, assault refers to an attempt or threat to injure another person, while battery is when there occurs actual harmful or offensive contact with another person. Regardless, charges for either offense could result in time behind bars and hefty fines. This is where your defense attorney steps in.
Attorney Robert J. McWhirter is beyond qualified to handle your assault or battery charge in Phoenix; as a former federal public defender and Maricopa County public defender, as well as the first chair qualified to defend capital cases by the Arizona Supreme Court, he can put up a powerful and thoughtfully-informed fight against the prosecution. Attorney McWhirter is also a certified specialist in Criminal Law with the State Bar of Arizona, so you can trust that he has the professional knowledge, qualifications, and experience to defend your case in Scottsdale and Maricopa County.
Call (480) 690-9097 or contact the Law Offices of Robert J. McWhirter online to discuss your legal situation today.
3 Levels of Misdemeanor Assault
Misdemeanor assault is classified into 3 penalty levels in Arizona based on the circumstances of the offense. To be charged with misdemeanor assault in Arizona, there must be shown proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did any of the following:
- intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused any physical injury to another person (Class 1 assault);
- intentionally placed another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury (Class 2 assault);
- knowingly touched another person with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke that person (Class 3 assault).
Note that the law defines physical injury in this context as impairment of someone’s physical condition, such as bruising. Additionally, Class 3 assault does not require that any actual injury occurred.
Class 1 assault, the most serious level of assault, is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of $2,500 in fines and up to 6 months in jail. Class 2 assault is charged as a Class 2 misdemeanor punished by up to $750 in fines and up to 4 months in jail, and Class 3 assault is a Class 3 misdemeanor that carries up to $500 in fines and up to 30 days in jail.
Be aware that having a prior conviction for assault during the past 2 years could lead to an enhanced sentence bumping up the offense to the next highest class. For example, if a person convicted of Class 3 assault was convicted of a different assault the year before, they could be sentenced for Class 2 assault for being a repeat offender.
Battery or Aggravated Assault
The crime of battery is referred to in Arizona as aggravated assault. Depending on who the alleged victim if (e.g., law enforcement) or the acts allegedly committed, aggravated assault can be charged as a Class 2 to Class 5 felony. If classified as a “dangerous offense,” a convicted individual will face mandatory jail time. Note that a first offense results in up to 15 years in prison, and subsequent convictions could require increased prison time.
Aggravated assault typically occurs when a person commits an assault involving:
- serious physical injury or substantial disfigurement caused to another;
- use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument to intentionally place somebody in imminent fear of serious physical injury;
- ordinary assault on a public servant (e.g., police officer, teacher, prosecutor, hospital staff, or prison guard).
Note that regarding law enforcement, Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1204 establishes that a person commits aggravated assault against an officer who is engaged in their official duties when the offender knows or has reason to know that the alleged victim is an officer and knowingly takes or attempts to take:
- the officer's firearm;
- any weapon other than a firearm that the officer is using or attempting to use; or
- any implement (other than a handcuff) that the officer is using or attempting to use, such as a taser.
Additionally, according to Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-1204, it is also possible to face aggravated assault charges if the defendant is alleged to have committed misdemeanor assault (above) that involves both of the following:
- the defendant intentionally or knowingly impedes the normal breathing or circulation of blood of another person by applying pressure to the throat or neck or by obstructing the nose and mouth; and
- the act is considered domestic violence under Arizona law.
Aggravated domestic violence as above is a Class 5 felony punishable by up to 36 months in prison for a first offense. Defendants with 2 prior convictions for a domestic violence offense must serve a minimum of 4 months in jail, and those with 3 or more prior convictions for domestic violence must serve a minimum of 8 months in jail.
Contact the Law Offices of Robert J. McWhirter for Professional Representation
Assault and battery are serious crimes in Arizona. However, the prosecution is required to show proof beyond a reasonable doubt, so an experienced and skilled defense lawyer can exert effective pressure on the other side that could challenge their accusations. Attorney Robert J. McWhirter will put his professional achievements and certifications to use as he defends your case in court. Put a former public defender and former international government advisor on your case today.
Schedule an initial meeting with the Law Offices of Robert J. McWhirter online or at (480) 690-9097 to learn more.
- Over 30 Years of Legal Experience
- Personal, One-on-One Attention
- Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
- Former Federal Public Defender
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