In Arizona an Aggravated Assault is a simple assault that is enhanced by the unique nature of the facts of the case. An assault can become aggravated if it results in serious physical injury, a weapon is used, the assault causes a fracture or temporary loss of use of a bodily organ or function, or if the victim is under 15 and the aggressor is over 18. Aggravated assault can also occur if one commits a simple assault upon certain protected classes such as police officers, firefighters, teachers, correctional officers, health care providers, code enforcement officers, park rangers, prosecutors or court appointed attorneys.
Some of the more common types of Aggravated Assaults include assaults that result in serious injury, result in a fracture or where a weapon was used – including a car. For example, if a person is involved in a car accident while impaired, which results in injury to another, the charge will normally be Aggravated Assault (as opposed to DUI). Under this theory of prosecution the vehicle becomes the weapon/dangerous instrument.
To add more complexity to this already complicated statutory scheme the government can add allegations of "dangerousness" to the charge. If the offense involves any type of weapon or dangerous instrument (including a car) the Aggravated Assault will be alleged to be a "dangerous" crime which then means if a person is convicted, the penalty is mandatory imprisonment, and the length of that prison sentence is enhanced as compared to a non-dangerous crime. "Dangerous" crimes are not probation eligible, but can become probation eligible if the "Dangerous" allegation is dismissed – a common strategy in plea negotiations.
The potential sentence for an Aggravated Assault charge will be dependent on the facts of the case, and under which type of Aggravated Assault one is charged with – but the range of penalty can be anywhere from a designated misdemeanor offense with no jail all the way to mandatory imprisonment in the Arizona Department of Corrections (state prison) for up to 21 years for a first offense class 2 dangerous felony. Generally speaking, all Aggravated Assault charges will start out as felony charges but not all will be labeled as "dangerous" offenses. Some types of Aggravated Assault charges can be reduced to misdemeanor offenses even though they are charged initially as felony crimes.
If you have been charged with Aggravated Assault it is extremely important that you seek out competent legal advice. The Firm represents individuals charged with ANY felony charge, including Aggravated Assault charges, in ANY court in the State of Arizona. Contact the Firm for a free evaluation of your case.
**This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact the Firm to schedule a consultation regarding your case.