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.