Thousands of assault arrests occur every year in Arizona. A person commits assault when they “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause any physical injury to another person,” or place a person in harm’s way. Assault charges do not involve weapons, as the addition of a weapon upgrades the charge to aggravated assault.
Misdemeanors are classified between class 1 and class 3. Arizona law does not require a visible injury to make an assault arrest; one does not even have to touch another person to be arrested for assault.
In Arizona, an assault conviction can carry meaningful consequences, despite its classification as a misdemeanor. A conviction may result in jail time, classes, fines, and may prohibit you from being able to carry a gun.
A class 3 misdemeanor simply means that a person was proven to have touched another with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke them. The State needs no evidence that an injury occurred; it is the intention that counts. A conviction can result in probation, community service, classes, and a fine. A person convicted of a class 3 misdemeanor assault can also face up to 30 days in prison.
A class 2 misdemeanor requires a little more of the State; instead of intent to harm, the State must prove that the other person felt “reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury.” Again, this conviction does not require physical contact between the two parties. Leading a person into oncoming traffic fits the criteria for a class 2 misdemeanor assault, since the State needs to prove the victim’s state of mind (fear) rather than physical injury. A class 2 conviction can result in up to 4 months of imprisonment, as well as anger management classes, community service, probation, and fines.
Only a class 1 misdemeanor assault charge requires the State to prove that injury actually occurred. This is the most severe misdemeanor assault charge, and can result in 6 months of jail time. The severity of the injury is unimportant; the injury can be a slight redness where the victim was touched, or a light bruise. It could also be a broken leg or bloody wound. The presence of a discernible injury – proof of contact between the perpetrator and victim – is enough to raise the class of misdemeanor. This type of conviction can result in any of the aforementioned consequences, with up to 6 months of jail time.
Assault arrests in Phoenix have shown some fluctuation over the last ten years, with a height of 6,074 arrests in 2006 and a low point of 4,090 arrests in 2011. That number rose significantly between 2011 and 2012, which included 5,263 arrests. The most recent available data for this type of arrest is from 2012.
The penalties of being charged with any class of misdemeanor assault in Arizona can be tough, which is why it is important to seek legal advice and representation during the process.
Contact the Stewart Law Group as soon as possible when faced with an assault misdemeanor charge so we can begin preparing your defense strategy immediately.
Our defense lawyer, Scott Stewart will appear at both the criminal court hearing to defend your rights. Contact us today to set up a FREE case evaluation to assess your legal options and learn how our firm can help protect your rights and defend your future.