Felony Assault Phoenix Defense Lawyer

What You Need To Know About Your Case

What Is Felony Assault in Violation of §A.R.S.13-1204?

Felony assaults, whether in the Phoenix area or anywhere else in Arizona are defined by A.R.S. §13-1204. The most important thing to know is about these charges is that they are felonies that can result in prison sentences and you or your loved one absolutely need an experienced lawyer to defend against aggravated assault charges.

When you evaluate the aggravated assault charges filed against you, you should determine  (1) what makes your assault an aggravated/felony; (2) is it the type of felony than requires a mandatory prison sentence and (3) what are your defenses.  Obviously you need to consult an experienced attorney to help you with this process.  When seeking a legal consultation, you need to make sure you will be meeting with a lawyer not a sales person/closer.  In my law firm, I personally will meet and consult with you.

Determining If Or Why Your Charge is For Aggravated Assault

There are many things that can make your assault an aggravated assault.  This can range from causing serious physical injury, choaking a person, using a weapon or simply the status of the person you assaulted.  I have provided a copy of A.R.S. §13-1204, Arizona’s aggravated assault statute below.  You can review the statute and see why you have been charged with aggravated assault as opposed to simple assault.

Determining If your Aggravated Assault Charge Requires You Go To Prison If Convicted

Several things affect whether you must go to prison if convicted.  For example, you prior criminal history may mandate if you must serve a prison sentence.  Additionally, whether a dangerous instrument was used in committing the assault.  The significance of the injury may also result in a prison sentence.  An experienced lawyer can better help you evaluate wether your offense requires you go to prison if convicted.

What Are the Defenses for Aggravated Assault or violating A.R.S. §13-1204?

There are a number of ways to defend assault cases.  These include self defense, defense of others or property.  There are also defenses tied to the relationship with the alleged victim or perpetrator.  These types of defenses deal with justification, which is a defense.  These defenses are somewhat complicated and you should consult an attorney to see if they are applicable to you or your loved one’s case.

Other defenses against aggravated assault deal with proof issues.  This means accessing whether the Prosecution will be able to prove their assault case.  This defense against assault charges include lack of physical evidence and or witnesses. Again, these issues are complicated and deal with understanding the rules of evidence as well as criminal procedure.  Therefore, you should consult an attorney to see if they are applicable in defending assault charges against you.

Claims of self-defense, defense of others, defense of property,  lack of witnesses and other issues can change an assault into a very difficult case for the prosecution to prove.  If these issues are timely and properly presented, the prosecutor might agree not to file charges, reduce the charges to a smaller offense or drop the charges altogether. If you or a loved one is dealing with assault charges, a successful defense may depend on hiring an experienced criminal attorney who has been dealing with these types of cases for over a fifteen years.

How An Experienced Lawyer Can Make A Difference!

I previously represented a Criminal Defense Lawyer who shot and killed a man in a road side type confrontation.  The police were quick to arrest and jail the Criminal Defense Lawyer and he was held on approximately $1,000,000. Bail.  That criminal defense lawyer first utilized the services of a larger law firm who assigned one of their lesser experienced attorneys to the case. (See How To Choose a Lawyer)  The lesser experienced attorney wrote a Trebus letter to try and reduce or mitigate the charges at the Grand Jury level.  The letter did not apparently change the circumstances.

Shortly thereafter, I got involved.  I did a quick and thorough investigation interviewing witnesses, going to the scene and speaking with an private investigator.  After that investigation, I wrote a supplemental Treebus letter and request for review.  Not long afterwards, the Prosecution dismissed the charges and elected not to file any charges.  That decision may change in the future, but it has been several years now and he has not been re-charged.

This is just one example of how hiring an experienced lawyer who is willing to work hard on your case can make a huge difference.  The sooner you get an experienced attorney involved in your case, the sooner they can begin to work on your defense and the better your chances for winning the case.

What are the Penalties for Violating §A.R.S.13-1204, Aggravated Assault?

The penalty for aggravated assault, violating of A.R.S. §13-1204 vary according to how the offense is classified.  Aggravated Assault charges range from Class 2 felonies to Class 6 Felonies.  Thus, on a first offense, prison sentences can range from .33 years (Mitigated Class 6 Felony) to 12.5 years (Aggravated Class 2 Felony).  The sentence can become more severe if the offense is designated a Dangerous Offense.  Probation is available for some felony assault charges.  It is best to consult an experienced aggravated assault lawyer to help you understand the exact penalties you or your loved one is facing.

For more details on felony penalties or consequences see the link titled Felony Penalties and Consequences in Arizona.

13-1204. Aggravated assault; classification; definition

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.

8. If the person commits the assault knowing or having reason to know that the victim is any of the following:

(a) A peace officer, or a person summoned and directed by the officer while engaged in the execution of any official duties.

(b) A constable, or a person summoned and directed by the constable while engaged in the execution of any official duties.

(c) A firefighter, fire investigator, fire inspector, emergency medical technician or paramedic engaged in the execution of any official duties, or a person summoned and directed by such individual while engaged in the execution of any official duties.

(d) A teacher or other person employed by any school and the teacher or other employee is on the grounds of a school or grounds adjacent to the school or is in any part of a building or vehicle used for school purposes, any teacher or school nurse visiting a private home in the course of the teacher’s or nurse’s professional duties or any teacher engaged in any authorized and organized classroom activity held on other than school grounds.

(e) A health care practitioner who is certified or licensed pursuant to title 32, chapter 13, 15, 17 or 25, or a person summoned and directed by the licensed health care practitioner while engaged in the person’s professional duties. This subdivision does not apply if the person who commits the assault is seriously mentally ill, as defined in section 36-550, or is afflicted with alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

(f) A prosecutor.

(g) A code enforcement officer as defined in section 39-123.

(h) A state or municipal park ranger.

(i) A public defender.

9. If the person knowingly takes or attempts to exercise control over any of the following:

(a) A peace officer’s or other officer’s firearm and the person knows or has reason to know that the victim is a peace officer or other officer employed by one of the agencies listed in paragraph 10, subdivision (a), item (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) or (v) of this subsection and is engaged in the execution of any official duties.

(b) Any weapon other than a firearm that is being used by a peace officer or other officer or that the officer is attempting to use, and the person knows or has reason to know that the victim is a peace officer or other officer employed by one of the agencies listed in paragraph 10, subdivision (a), item (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) or (v) of this subsection and is engaged in the execution of any official duties.

(c) Any implement that is being used by a peace officer or other officer or that the officer is attempting to use, and the person knows or has reason to know that the victim is a peace officer or other officer employed by one of the agencies listed in paragraph 10, subdivision (a), item (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) or (v) of this subsection and is engaged in the execution of any official duties. For the purposes of this subdivision, “implement” means an object that is designed for or that is capable of restraining or injuring an individual. Implement does not include handcuffs.

10. If the person meets both of the following conditions:

(a) Is imprisoned or otherwise subject to the custody of any of the following:

(i) The state department of corrections.

(ii) The department of juvenile corrections.

(iii) A law enforcement agency.

(iv) A county or city jail or an adult or juvenile detention facility of a city or county.

(v) Any other entity that is contracting with the state department of corrections, the department of juvenile corrections, a law enforcement agency, another state, any private correctional facility, a county, a city or the federal bureau of prisons or other federal agency that has responsibility for sentenced or unsentenced prisoners.

(b) Commits an assault knowing or having reason to know that the victim is acting in an official capacity as an employee of any of the entities listed in subdivision (a) of this paragraph.

B. A person commits aggravated assault if the person commits assault by either intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person, intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury or knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure the person, and both of the following occur:

1. The person intentionally or knowingly impedes the normal breathing or circulation of blood of another person by applying pressure to the throat or neck or by obstructing the nose and mouth either manually or through the use of an instrument.

2. Any of the circumstances exists that are set forth in section 13-3601, subsection A, paragraph 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.

C. A person who is convicted of intentionally or knowingly committing aggravated assault on a peace officer while the officer is engaged in the execution of any official duties pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 or 2 of this section shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than the presumptive sentence authorized under chapter 7 of this title and is not eligible for suspension of sentence, commutation or release on any basis until the sentence imposed is served.

D. Except pursuant to subsections E and F of this section, aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 or 2 or paragraph 9, subdivision (a) of this section is a class 3 felony except if the victim is under fifteen years of age in which case it is a class 2 felony punishable pursuant to section 13-705. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 3 or subsection B of this section is a class 4 felony. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 9, subdivision (b) or paragraph 10 of this section is a class 5 felony. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 or paragraph 9, subdivision (c) of this section is a class 6 felony.

E. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 or 2 of this section committed on a peace officer while the officer is engaged in the execution of any official duties is a class 2 felony. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 3 of this section committed on a peace officer while the officer is engaged in the execution of any official duties is a class 3 felony. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 8, subdivision (a) of this section committed on a peace officer while the officer is engaged in the execution of any official duties is a class 5 felony unless the assault results in any physical injury to the peace officer while the officer is engaged in the execution of any official duties, in which case it is a class 4 felony.

F. Aggravated assault pursuant to:

1. Subsection A, paragraph 1 or 2 of this section is a class 2 felony if committed on a prosecutor.

2. Subsection A, paragraph 3 of this section is a class 3 felony if committed on a prosecutor.

3. Subsection A, paragraph 8, subdivision (f) of this section is a class 5 felony if the assault results in physical injury to a prosecutor.

G. For the purposes of this section, “prosecutor” means a county attorney, a municipal prosecutor or the attorney general and includes an assistant or deputy county attorney, municipal prosecutor or attorney general.

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