Possible Defenses against Assault Charges in Arizona
Allegations of assault and battery come with serious consequences in Arizona. The potential sentence could include a long period of time in prison, especially when it comes to aggravated assault charges. This is the main reason why a sound defense strategy will be needed right from the start. Several defense approaches are common in Arizona and a lawyer will choose the right tactic on the basis of case specifics. Here are some of the possibilities that can help for the establishment of strong defenses against assault charges.
Assault and Aggravated Assault in Arizona
Assault is defined in Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1203. A person who knowingly and recklessly causes physical harm to another person will be committing assault. The same applies to intentionally putting someone else in harm’s way and knowingly touching somebody else with the intent to injury them.
Assault is a Class 3 misdemeanor in Arizona.
Aggravated assault has more serious consequences that are described in Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1204.
Aggravated assault is committed whenever serious physical harm is caused intentionally. The same applies to:
- Using a deadly weapon to harm somebody
- Causing intentional physical harm that leads to disfigurement, fractures and organ impairments
- Getting the victim bound for the purpose of committing assault
- Entering the home or private property of another person to commit assault
- Committing assault on a minor whenever the perpetrator is aged 18 or older
- Committing assault, even when the perpetrator knows that the victim is a police officer, a constable, a firefighter, a teacher on the grounds of a school, a health care practitioner, etc.
Depending on the severity of the crime, aggravated assault will lead to anywhere between Class 6 and Class 2 felony charges.
Viable Defense Scenarios
The prosecution faces the task of proving beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly and intentionally threatened or caused harm to another person. The burden of proof is very high for the charges to hold in court. Thus, a lawyer can challenge the evidence, the testimonies of witnesses and the manner in which information has been collected.
Intentional, reckless and knowing harm are required elements for assault charges. These three elements also happen to be the easiest ones to challenge in court. A prosecutor will often find it difficult to establish the fact that the harm somebody has experienced was the intentional result of somebody else’s actions.
In the case of aggravated assault, a lawyer could opt for a self-defense approach. This happens to be one of the most common defenses against assault charges, especially when it can be established that the victim was the first one to act aggressively.
Constitutional violations that occurred during the investigative process and the detention of the defendant can also be used as a line of defense in the case of assault or aggravated assault. Something as simple as a failure to read the defendant’s Miranda Rights could provide an attorney with a reason enough to challenge the charges.
There are a few more specific defense scenarios that could also be applicable in certain assault cases.
Whenever a victim has provided consent for participation in certain activities, assault or aggravated assault charges are not possible. The victim should have been given a clear idea about the upcoming activities and the risk of injuries stemming from those.
A defense of property approach is also plausible. This one refers to one person assaulting somebody else in an attempt to protect personal property. This one is a tricky option, however, because of the multiple variables and it’s not commonly utilized.
If you are charged with assault or aggravated assault in Arizona, do not attempt to defend yourself. You may end up saying too much and implicating yourself in a crime. Contact a lawyer immediately, describe the specifics of the case and you’ll be given suggestions about the defense approach that could potentially yield the best possible results.