Misdemeanor Assault in Arizona
In Arizona, assault charges can result from many different scenarios. Pushing, hitting, pinching, biting, and slapping are all examples of assault. Arizona’s assault laws even include using fighting words or verbal threats. As such, swearing, taunting, and threatening can all result in assault charges in Arizona. Unfortunately, people often find themselves facing assault charges when their conduct wasn’t assaultive at all, or when they were only acting in self-defense.
Any assault charge carries several lasting penalties and consequences. Not only does a conviction for an Arizona assault leave a criminal record with lasting consequences, it can carry jail time, fines, surcharges, classes, and the loss of rights—including gun rights in domestic violence cases.
How Does Arizona Define Assault?
Under A.R.S. Chapter 13-1203, Arizona law defines assault as any of the following:
- Physically injuring someone;
- Intentionally placing someone in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury;
- Touching someone with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke.
What is Assault in Arizona?
Many are surprised to learn that Arizona’s assault laws don’t require injury. Arizona assault merely requires that someone be touched in a way that’s insulting. You can even be charged for verbal threats.
Misdemeanor assault can be charged as a class 1, 2 or 3 misdemeanor. The level of misdemeanor depends on the alleged mental state, as well as the alleged conduct.
- Class 3 Misdemeanor Assault in Arizona: The prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant knowingly touched a person with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke. Arizona’s class 3 misdemeanor assault has no injury requirement. All that’s needed is touching with intent to injure, insult, or provoke. The penalties for a Class 3 Misdemeanor Assault in Arizona carries are up to 30 days jail, 1 year probation, community services, anger management classes, restitution, and $500 in fines—plus an additional $415 surcharge.
- Class 2 Misdemeanor Assault in Arizona: The prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant intentionally placed someone in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury. There’s no requirement that someone be touched at all. All that’s needed is for someone to reasonably believe that they’re going to be injured soon. The penalties for a Class 2 Misdemeanor Arizona assault conviction are up to 4 months in jail, 2 years probation, anger management classes, community service, restitution, and $750 in fines—plus an additional $622.50 in surcharges.
- Class 1 misdemeanor assault in Arizona: The prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant intentionally, recklessly or knowingly caused physical injury. Under A.R.S. § 13-105, physical injury is the impairment of someone’s physical condition. That includes the slightest of injury—such as redness on the skin or a small bruise. The penalties for Arizona’s class 1 misdemeanor assault include up to 6 months jail, 3 years probation, anger management classes, community service, restitution, and $2,500 in fines—plus an additional $2075 in surcharges.
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Short of a dismissal, is there any way to avoid a criminal conviction
for a misdemeanor assault in Arizona?
Some prosecuting agencies have deferred judgment or diversion programs that allow a Defendant to complete a program without ever being convicted of a crime. In other words, you get to keep your record conviction free. This typically involves the completion of several anger management or domestic violence classes, paying fines, and sometimes community service. Keep in mind, however, a deferred judgment or diversion program is within the sole discretion of the prosecutor. As such, hiring a Mesa criminal defense attorney gives you the best odds at getting this opportunity. Criminal defense attorneys can often outline to a prosecutor why their client is an appropriate candidate for diversion or deferred judgment. This holds especially true for clients with clean records and a motivation to complete the program.
Additional Domestic Violence Resources
Common Defenses to Assault Charges in Arizona:
No State of Mind (Reasonable Accident): A Defendant who accidentally causes an injury shouldn’t be found guilty of assault in Arizona. At a minimum, the injury must be the result of either a knowing or reckless act. Under A.R.S. § 13-105(10), in order to act recklessly, one must be aware of, and consciously disregard, a substantial and unjustifiable risk created by their act. For example, wildly swing one’s arms about causing an injury to someone can be considered a reckless, assaultive act—even though there was no intent to hurt anyone. For a Defendant to act knowingly, they must deliberately do something that’s assaultive. For example, deliberately poking a person and causing a slight bruise constitutes a knowing assault in Arizona. It’s irrelevant whether or not the Defendant meant to cause a bruise.
No Assault Occurred. Sometimes assault charges are made up by the victim. This might be because they want to shift blame, enact revenge, gain in advantage in child custody or divorce, or simply cause trouble for the accused. Drug and alcohol abuse can also cause false accusations.
Self-Defense under A.R.S. 13-404. Often times a Defendant will physically touch or threaten someone after being confronted with assaultive behavior. The need for self-defense is heightened when confronted by someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or when a Defendant knows the alleged victim has a history of violence. Individuals may threaten or use physical force when reasonably and immediately necessary to protect against unlawful physical force. For the self-defense justification statute to apply, the self-defense must be proportional to the aggressor’s. For example, you cannot stab someone simply because they flicked or pushed you—that’s not proportional. In addition, self-defense isn’t justified in response to a verbal provocation. And lastly, self-defense usually doesn’t apply if the Defendant is the original aggressor.
Defense of others. A defendant may defend another person if that other person would be justified in using self-defense.
Constitutional Violations: No warrant, lack of reasonable suspicion, Miranda violations, denial of the right to counsel: these issues can sometimes be raised to get a dismissal.
Contact Us Anytime for a Free Consultation.
Tobin Law Office offers these benefits when defending assault charges:
- Transparent Flat Fees and Payment Plans: We defends assault charges at an affordable flat rate. You’ll know the total cost up front.
- Former Prosecutor: Mr. Tobin prosecuted for two prosecuting agencies. In both positions, Mr. Tobin regularly handled assault cases.
- Personal Attention and Great Communication: Attorney Tim Tobin handles all aspects of the case. His client don’t need to go through support staff to discuss the case or get updates. All clients have Mr. Tobin’s cell phone and email for direct contact.
- Free Assault Consultations: When you call or message us, you’ll be put in direct contact to discuss your assault charges with Mr. Tobin.
Tobin Law Office Can Do the Following, and More, in Arizona Assault Cases:
- Attend court for you so you don’t need to take time from work and family
- File motions to change release conditions
- Raise Defenses to the Assault Charge
- File pretrial constitutional motions in an effort to get a case dismissed
- Negotiate for dismissal, reduction, or diversion
- Protect gun rights
- Investigate, review evidence, and interview witnesses
- If necessary, fight the charges at trial
My results turned out better than expected!
Giselle M. – Gilbert
“Mr.Tobin was professional, reliable, extremely knowledgeable but he was also very sincere and genuine which I appreciated very much and he believes in fair justice. ”
Mr. Tobin's communication is amazingly fast!
Miguel C. – Mesa
“Mr. Tobin was very professional during my court days and he was very confident handling my case. ”