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Assault Penalties and Defenses

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When facing an assault charge in Arizona, it is important to understand the potential consequences and available defenses. The law firm of Colburn Hintze Maletta is a leading authority on assault defense in Arizona, providing expert legal representation to those charged with assault.

Assault charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies, each with varying penalties.

For instance, a Class 1 misdemeanor assault could lead to up to 6 months in jail, while a Class 2 felony aggravated assault might result in up to 12.5 years of imprisonment for first-time offenders.

If you or someone you know is facing assault charges in Arizona. Colburn Hintze Maletta offers a free consultation, providing an opportunity to understand your situation better and discuss potential defense strategies.

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Assault Penalties and Defenses

Arizona Assault Laws 

Under ARS 13-1203 and ARS 13-1204, assault in Arizona can be classified based on the severity of the act:

  • Simple Assault (ARS 13-1203): This form involves intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person, or causing someone to reasonably fear imminent bodily harm.
  • Aggravated Assault (ARS 13-1204): This more severe form of assault occurs under certain aggravating circumstances, such as using a deadly weapon or causing serious physical injury.

Understanding these categories is the first step in handling an assault charge in Arizona.

aggravated assault with a gun

Aggravated Assault Charges 

In Arizona, aggravated assault is a more serious form of assault that carries harsher penalties and is categorized under ARS 13-1204. This elevation in charge typically occurs under specific aggravating circumstances. 

 Here are some common examples of situations that may lead to aggravated assault charges:

  • Use of a Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument: If the assault involves the use of a firearm, knife, or any object that under the circumstances could be considered dangerous or deadly, the charges are likely to be elevated to aggravated assault.
  • Causing Serious Physical Injury: An assault resulting in significant physical injuries, such as broken bones, disfigurement, or injuries requiring substantial medical intervention, can be classified as aggravated assault.
  • Assault Against Certain Victims: Arizona law specifies that an assault against certain types of victims automatically qualifies as aggravated. This includes assaults against police officers, firefighters, teachers, healthcare providers, or prosecutors while they are performing their official duties.
  • Assault While Committing Other Serious Crimes: If an assault occurs in conjunction with another felony, such as burglary, kidnapping, or sexual assault, it can be charged as aggravated assault.
  • Restraining the Victim: Assaults where the perpetrator restrains the victim, such as binding them or physically holding them to restrict their movement, can lead to aggravated assault charges.
  • Assaults Resulting in Temporary but Substantial Disfigurement or Loss or Impairment of Any Body Part or Organ: If the assault causes temporary but significant harm, such as impaired vision or hearing, or substantial disfigurement, it can be classified as aggravated.
  • Assault Committed After Entering the Private Home of Another: Assaults that occur after the assailant unlawfully enters or remains in someone else’s home can also be elevated to aggravated assault.


jail time as assault penalty

Assault Penalties

In Arizona, the penalties for assault convictions vary widely based on the severity of the offense, the circumstances surrounding the incident, and the defendant’s criminal history. 

 Here’s a more detailed look at the potential penalties for misdemeanor and felony assault charges:

Misdemeanor Assault (ARS 13-1203)

  1. Class 1 Misdemeanor: The most serious misdemeanor assault, often involving physical injury or touching with the intent to provoke. Penalties can include:

    • Up to 6 months in jail
    • Fines of up to $2,500
    • Probation for up to 3 years
    • Possible community service or mandatory anger management classes
  2. Class 2 Misdemeanor: Typically involves intentionally placing someone in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury. Penalties can include:

    • Up to 4 months in jail
    • Fines of up to $750
    • Probation
  3. Class 3 Misdemeanor: Generally involves knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke. Penalties can include:

    • Up to 30 days in jail
    • Fines
    • Probation

Felony Assault (ARS 13-1204 – Aggravated Assault)

  1. Class 2 Felony Assault: Among the most severe, often involving the use of a deadly weapon or causing serious physical injury. Penalties can include:

    • 7 to 21 years in prison for a first-time offense
    • Longer sentences for repeat offenders or if certain aggravating factors are present
  2. Class 3 Felony Assault: May involve assaults against protected classes of workers (like police officers) or causing temporary but substantial disfigurement. Penalties can include:

    • 5 to 15 years in prison
    • Increased penalties for aggravated circumstances or prior convictions
  3. Class 4, 5, and 6 Felony Assault: These categories can include less severe instances of aggravated assault, such as causing a minor injury with a deadly weapon or committing assault after unlawful entry. Penalties vary but can include:

    • 1 to 3.75 years in prison for Class 4
    • 0.75 to 2 years for Class 5
    • 0.5 to 1.5 years for Class 6
    • Potential for increased sentences based on aggravating factors or prior convictions

In all cases, the courts consider aggravating factors, such as the defendant’s criminal history, the age of the victim, and the use of a weapon, which can significantly increase the severity of the penalties. Additionally, assault convictions often come with supplementary consequences, such as the loss of the right to own firearms, difficulty finding employment, and social stigma.

Defenses to Assault in Arizona 

In Arizona, several strategic defenses can be employed to counter assault charges.


 Common defenses include:


  1. Self-Defense: Claiming the accused acted to protect themselves from immediate harm, with the force used being reasonable and proportionate to the threat.
  2. Defense of Others: Similar to self-defense, but involves protecting another individual from harm.
  3. Lack of Intent: Demonstrating the act was not intentional or knowing, potentially making the incident accidental and not deliberate.
  4. Consent: Arguing the alleged victim consented to the risk of physical contact, common in contact sports or certain consensual activities.
  5. False Accusations/Mistaken Identity: Contesting the charges based on wrongful identification or deliberate false implications.
  6. Insufficient Evidence: Highlighting the lack of concrete evidence or discrepancies in the prosecution’s case.
  7. Alibi: Providing evidence that the accused was not present at the crime scene.
  8. Insanity: Asserting the accused was not in a proper mental state to understand the wrongfulness of their actions, requiring substantial proof and expert testimony.

is domestic violence considered assault

Is Domestic Violence Considered Assault? 

In Arizona, domestic violence is not a separate charge but a designation that can be attached to charges like assault when the involved parties have a specific relationship, such as family members, romantic partners, or cohabitants. The domestic violence designation brings additional legal implications and potential penalties.

Free Consultation with an AZ Criminal Defense Attorney 

Facing criminal charges in Arizona can be overwhelming, but Colburn Hintze Maletta is here to offer expert legal assistance and support. Our firm provides a free initial consultation, ensuring that individuals dealing with criminal charges have access to the guidance they need. During the consultation, you’ll receive expert legal advice, a detailed evaluation of your case, a clear understanding of your rights, and a discussion of potential strategies tailored to your situation, all within a confidential and supportive environment. Our approach is focused on building strong attorney-client relationships, emphasizing trust and open communication.

 If you’re going through this challenging time and need immediate help or more information, don’t hesitate to contact our attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta we’re reachable at (602) 825-2500.

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