Assault charges can be difficult to understand because the conversational meaning of assault does not directly align with the legal definition of the term. Understanding the differences is essential for fighting your charges to the best of your ability. In Arizona, the definition of assault can be found in A.R.S. §13-1203, which states that a defendant assaults another person by (1) causing physical injury to another person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly; (2) intentionally causing another person to reasonably apprehend imminent physical injury; or (3) knowingly touching another in an attempt to provoke, insult, or injure that person. Because of this broad definition, you don’t even need to be accused of fighting to be charged with assault; scaring someone into thinking you will hit them is enough.
If you have been charged with assault in the Phoenix Metro area, or anywhere in Arizona, a strong defense is a must. DM Cantor has the experience to help you fight assault charges and clear your name. For a free consultation, call our offices at (602) 737-2812 or contact us through our secure, confidential web form.
Potential Penalties for Misdemeanor Assault Charges
Despite not being a felony, misdemeanor assault charges can be serious, and the penalties can be harsh. For the most part, assaults are treated as class one (1) misdemeanors, but they may be lowered to class two (2) or three (3) misdemeanors due to mitigating circumstances such as lack of intent to commit the assault or absence of physical injury. Class two misdemeanors are punished less severely, but the sentences have teeth; a class two misdemeanor conviction is punishable by probation with up to four months in jail, along with a fine of $750 with 84 percent in surcharges attached.
A class one misdemeanor carries heavier penalties, with a jail sentence of up to six months, probation, and a fine of $2,500 plus an 84 percent surcharge. In addition to the penalties imposed by the justice system, you may find pursuing a job or education more difficult with assault charges on your record. Also, you will not be able to possess a firearm, and the conviction could cost you custody of your children if you are involved in divorce proceedings.
Potential Defenses to Misdemeanor Assault Charges
Often, when one is accused of fighting, self-defense is a reliable legal defense to the charges. In these circumstances, usually the alleged victim actually began the altercation, and — as is common when alcohol is involved — the individual attempted to hit the defendant but lost his balance and hurt himself. Unfortunately, as the uninjured party in the altercation, the defendant is believed to have caused the harm.
With respect to these and other situations involving assault charges, eyewitness testimony is a key factor. Thus, our defense team works hard to present evidence that can show the judge what really happened by talking to witnesses, obtaining surveillance videos, and identifying those who may have witnessed the altercation but who were not included in the police report. In some cases, the alleged victim may desire that the charges are dropped, but because the State brings the charges, the alleged victim may be forced to testify against the defendant.
DM Cantor can also assert more general defenses on your behalf, such as violation of Constitutional rights such as your right to an attorney or your Miranda rights. The latter violation can occur where you are not read your rights, or the police force or trick you into making an incriminating statement. We may also be able to fight your charges by identifying misleading or inaccurate police reports, improperly conducted line-ups, invalid search warrants, forensic flaws, or inaccurate crime scene reconstruction.
When your freedom and reputation is on the line, getting the best defense possible is crucial. DM Cantor features may former prosecutors on staff and Martindale Hubbell® has given the firm the highest rating available, AV®. David Michael Cantor has been Certified as a Criminal Law Specialist by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization, and he and the rest of the firm are featured in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®. To schedule a free case review, call the firm at (602) 737-2812 or contact us through our secure, confidential web form. Our offices are available 24 hours a day by phone and can schedule free consultations on the weekend if that works with your schedule.