Mesa Assault Crimes Lawyer Defending Your Rights After an Assault Charge
Assault crimes are a serious criminal offense that is thoroughly prosecuted in Arizona, with penalties including fines and jail time. In Arizona, an offender can be charged with simple assault or aggravated assault (referred to as ‘battery’ in other states). Our firm has aggressively defended clients facing assault charges in Mesa, AZ, and surrounding areas and can offer some important information if you are dealing with a similar situation.
What Is the Difference Between Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault?
Arizona statutes define that a person commits assault by “knowingly causing harm to another, causing another to fear physical harm, or touching another with the intent to cause harm or provocation.” In other words, if one person touches another intending to cause physical harm, or his/her behavior makes the alleged victim feel like their physical safety and well-being are at risk, that person has committed the crime of assault. This means that someone can be charged with assault even if they never really touched or injured anyone — the prosecution only needs to prove that the offender fully intended to cause harm or provocation.
There are a few key differences between simple assault and aggravated assault, mostly determined by the severity of the incident. Situations in which one person acted intending to cause physical harm to another or acted in a way that caused the other person to feel threatened are usually considered simple assault. Something as simple as getting in a fight at a bar and shoving someone is considered simple assault, even if the alleged victim was not injured. Aggravated assault, on the other hand, involves the use of a deadly weapon and results in serious injuries to the victim.
Does an Assault Conviction Always Mean Jail Time in Arizona?
Whether you face jail time for assault or not will depend on the severity of the incident and on whether the victim was seriously injured as well as whether any weapons or dangerous instruments were involved. Simple assault is considered a misdemeanor in Arizona, with jail time ranging from 30 days up to 6 months, and fines of up to $2500. While a misdemeanor is less serious than a felony, it is still important to work with an attorney who may be able to negotiate an alternative sentence that does not involve jail time, especially for less serious incidents and first-time offenders.
If you have been charged with aggravated assault, you will be dealing with a felony charge that usually results in some jail time. How much jail time you will get depends on the classification your case receives, because aggravated assault can be classified anywhere from a class 2 felony to a class 5 felony. Most instances are charged as a class 3 felony, which usually results in 5 to 15 years in prison. Longer penalties may be issued for a second and third offense of the same kind, potentially resulting in a prison term of up to 20 years (second offense) or 25 years (third offense). Arizona courts may also require payment of a fine that can be as high as $150,000.00 in some cases.
Can Assault Charges Be Dropped?
There are a few circumstances that may result in an assault case being dropped. However, it is a common misconception to believe that a victim can get charges dropped. Even if the person who originally accused you of assault has a change of heart, the only party with authority to press charges is the prosecution — not the victim — thus a case will only be dismissed by the request of the prosecution after getting the green light from a judge.
That being said, an assault charge can be dropped if the prosecution fails to demonstrate that the defendant committed an assault crime beyond a reasonable doubt. A key factor of any assault case is proving that the defendant intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly injured another person or made them feel threatened, or touched them with the clear intention to injure, insult or provoke them. The burden of proof carried by the prosecution is relatively high. If the evidence is insufficient or if you are able to prove that you did not intend to do harm, the prosecution may not be able to obtain a conviction and your case may be dismissed.
How Can an Attorney Help My Case?
Working with an aggressive Mesa assault crimes attorney is fundamental for you to increase your chances of obtaining a better outcome for your assault case. There are many possible defense strategies applicable to an assault charge. An example of a commonly used strategy is using the violation of constitutional rights angle.
If you are being charged with aggravated assault and a deadly weapon was involved, a Mesa violent crimes attorney can attempt to question the circumstances in which evidence of a deadly weapon was obtained. If the attorney successfully demonstrates that evidence of a deadly weapon was obtained as a result of an illegal search that violates your constitutional rights, the evidence becomes inadmissible. Other defense strategies include arguing that you were acting in self-defense or the defense of someone else.
A criminal defense attorney can use these and other strategies to try to get your case dismissed or to de-escalate your charges in order to obtain more lenient penalties. If you are facing assault charges, don’t fight it alone. Reach out to the legal team at Naegle Law Firm, P.C., at (480) 378-9000 to discuss your case and see how we can help.