Tucson Assault Attorney
Assault charges can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony. Prosecutors routinely seek to hand out harsh punishments in assault cases. Some misdemeanor assaults do not require any physical injury or physical contact, while some felony assaults require serious physical injury or the use of weapon. Elias Damianakos is an experienced Tucson assault attorney including simple assault, domestic violence assault, and aggravated felony assault.
Arizona Misdemeanor Simple Assault
Misdemeanor assaults are handled in municipal or county justice courts such as Tucson City Court and Pima County Justice Court. There are 3 classes of misdemeanor assault, as outlined in A.R.S. § 13-1203.
A. A person commits assault by:
1. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person; or
2. Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury; or
3. Knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke such person.
B. Assault committed intentionally or knowingly pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 is a class 1 misdemeanor. Assault committed recklessly pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 or assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 2 is a class 2 misdemeanor. Assault committed pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 3 is a class 3 misdemeanor.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Simple Assault
The penalties for misdemeanor assault in Arizona depend on the class of the offense, and the facts of the case. Below is a summary of the maximum penalties. In addition to those penalties, a person could be subject to restitution, no contact orders, and other conditions imposed by the court. The maximum period of probation for misdemeanors are 3 years for a class 1, 2 years for a class 2, and 1 year for a class 3 misdemeanor.
Arizona Felony Aggravated Assault
Felony assaults are handled in Superior Courts in Arizona such as the Pima County Superior Court. They range from class 2 felonies to class 6 felonies depending on the unique facts and evidence of the case. The following is a summary list of some of the offenses that qualify as felony aggravated assault under A.R.S. § 13-1204.
A. A person commits aggravated assault if the person commits assault as prescribed by section 13-1203 under any of the following circumstances:
1. If the person causes serious physical injury to another.
2. If the person uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
3. If the person commits the assault by any means of force that causes temporary but substantial disfigurement, temporary but substantial loss or impairment of any body organ or part or a fracture of any body part.
4. If the person commits the assault while the victim is bound or otherwise physically restrained or while the victim’s capacity to resist is substantially impaired.
5. If the person commits the assault after entering the private home of another with the intent to commit the assault.
6. If the person is eighteen years of age or older and commits the assault on a minor under fifteen years of age.
7. If the person commits assault as prescribed by section 13-1203, subsection A, paragraph 1 or 3 and the person is in violation of an order of protection issued against the person pursuant to section 13-3602 or 13-3624.
Other ways an assault can be charged as a felony aggravated assault include:
- Assault on a police officer, firefighter, teacher, or health care worker
- Assault by taking or attempting to take a police officer’s weapon
- Assault while in custody or against a Arizona Department of Corrections officer
Penalties for Felony Aggravated Assault
Felony aggravated assaults range from class 2 felonies to class 6 felonies. If the offense of conviction is a “dangerous” offense a person is subject to severe penalties, as described below.
Defenses to Assault
There are always two sides to every “story.” Police reports never tell the whole story. Statements in police reports are always written after the fact, are seldom recorded, and are “edited” by police officers. It is important to be able to get your version of the events across to the prosecutor and the judge if your case goes to trial.
There are a number of defenses available depending on the facts of the case, and the charges. Many defenses in Arizona are known as “affirmative defenses”, which means the burden is on the defendant to prove the defenses. The prosecutor then will have the burden to prove that defense does not apply.
Arizona Justification Defenses
Defenses that may be available in a domestic violence case are as follows:
- Reasonable discipline of a child by a parent or guardian
- Self defense
- Defense of third person
- Defense of premises
- Defense of property
- Past acts of domestic violence by the victim against the defendant
- Defensive display of a firearm
Importance of Retaining an Experienced Tucson Assault Attorney
It is important to have an experienced Tucson assault attorney assist you in your defense. Preparing to defend yourself against assault charges should begin early. There’s a saying in law, “it’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove.” That means its very important to gather whatever evidence you can to support your case. Some of the things you should gather if they exist are as follows:
- police reports from past incidents relating to the victim
- text messages, emails, voicemails
- social media communications, e.g., facebook
- names and address of potential witnesses
- any recorded statements by the victim or witnesses
- transcripts or audio recordings of testimony in prior hearings such as order of protection hearings, or custody hearings
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you are facing assault charges, contact us. As a Tucson assault attorney, I have successfully defended people charged with misdemeanor and felony assault in Arizona. It is important to hire experienced counsel to be able to give your version of the events, gather all the evidence, and get the best possible result.