What Constitutes Assault As per the Laws of Arizona?
As per the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 13-1203, an assault is committed by a person if they:
- Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly, causes physical injury to another person; or
- Intentionally places another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury; or
- Knowingly touches another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke such a person.
There are other forms of assault mentioned under the statute, for instance, aggravated assault, which is a more serious form of an offense being considered as a felony and which is tried in a different court.
This article discusses assault as defined under the ARS 13-1203. The post also provides crucial information about the court’s processes in the trial of an assault in Scottsdale and penalties pertaining to these offenses.
When Can You Get Arrested for Assault in Scottsdale?
Under the definition of assault in Arizona, an assault charge falls under three categories detailed below.
1. Intentionally, Knowingly or Recklessly, Causing Physical Injury
If an individual intends to cause physical injury or knows that he is causing physical injury, or causes such injury out of reckless conduct, then they may get arrested for assault in Scottsdale as per the ARS 13-1203. Unlike the other categories of assault given under this section, there must be a physical injury caused to another person.
When analyzing assault charges in this category is what do the words, the actual meaning of “Intentionally”, “Knowingly” and “Recklessly” arise. To get clarity on the definitions, here’s a look at Arizona regarding these terms:
As per the statute, it means “with respect to a result or to conduct described by a statute defining an offense that a person’s objective is to cause that result or to engage in that conduct.”
To prove the charge of assault in Scottsdale City Court, the court has to determine whether the person’s objective was to inflict physical injury on another individual, and if it is so, then they’ll be booked for this offense.
The statute defines “Knowingly” as, “with respect to conduct or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense, that a person is aware or believes that the person’s conduct is of that nature or that the circumstance exists. It does not require any knowledge of the unlawfulness of the act or omission.”
With respect to the charge of assault in Scottsdale City Court, an accused will be considered as “knowingly” causing an assault if they’re aware or believe their actions or conduct would cause physical injury to another person.
It means, “that a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard of such risk constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation…”
Going by this definition, a person will be arrested for assault if they’re consciously aware that their actions are causing physical injury to someone, and disregard these consequences.
2. Intentionally Placing Another Person in Reasonable Apprehension of Imminent Physical Injury
Another way one can get arrested is if they place an individual at risk of a physical injury. Scottsdale City Court looks into the evidence and assesses if the objective of the accused person’s actions was to place the victim at risk of some physical injury thus causing apprehension to the victim.
For instance, if you are scaring somebody, or some person is getting fearful out of your intentional conduct, then that would be considered as an assault under this subsection.
It is pertinent to mention that a physical injury doesn’t need to have occurred for proving the assault under this category, this is why the word “imminent” has been placed in the section.
3. Knowingly Touching an Individual to Cause Injury, Insult or Provoke Such a Person
This is the lowest category of assault provided in this section, where one can get arrested even for touching someone provided other conditions are fulfilled.
Under this category, one can get arrested for assault if they touch someone with the objective of injuring, insulting, or provoking them. In other words, one gets booked if they are aware or believe that their actions will injure, insult or provoke someone.
Under Which Category of Assault Have You Been Booked?
With the various versions of assault given under the section and the varying accompanying penalties or punishments attached, it’s crucial to know under which subsection of ARS 13-1203, one has been booked for the offense of an assault.
For example, from the above ticket, the accused has touched the victim with the purpose of injuring him. That is why, they’re charged with the third category of assault which is knowingly touching an individual to cause injury, insult, or provoke such a person.
What Are the Penalties for Committing an Assault?
If you are charged with assault in Scottsdale, AZ, this is considered a misdemeanor. The assault charge under ARS § 13-105 is not defined as a felony and you only have to worry about the lesser charge of a misdemeanor.
Below is the scale of criminal charges in Arizona where the severity of the offenses increases as we go up the scale:
This criminal charges scale highlights the classification of charges based on severity. Serious offenses such as aggravated assault fall under the classification of a felony.
As the severity of the crime increases, its classification in the criminal charge scale goes up and the penalty becomes stricter. It’s important to note that ARS § 13-105 classifies all categories under different classes of misdemeanors.
From the classification provided under ARS § 13-105, an assault charge of intentionally or knowingly causing physical injury will be a class 1 misdemeanor while recklessly causing physical injury, and intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury will be a class 2 misdemeanor.
Physical injury caused out of the reckless actions of an individual is kept outside of class 1 misdemeanor, and given its position in class 2 because the mental level of culpability in case of assault through reckless actions is different from intentionally causing physical injury to an individual.
To understand this differentiation, consider a situation where you punch someone. Such an action would be intentional and would attract harsh punishments. On the other hand, if you’re dancing, and you elbow somebody, this is a reckless action, and would be given lesser punishment comparatively.
Assault by knowingly touching an individual to cause injury, insult, or provoke any individual is taken as a class 3 misdemeanor.
At this point, the question that arises is what type of penalties accompany these different cases of assault falling under class 1, 2, and 3 misdemeanors. Here’s a breakdown of the penalties for different assault types in Scottsdale.
Class 1 Misdemeanor
- As per Arizona Revised Statutes 13-802, the maximum fine that can be fixed by the court in case of an offense involving a class 1 misdemeanor will not be more than $2500.
- As per ARS 13-707, the maximum duration of a sentence involving imprisonment for a class 1 misdemeanor will not be more than 6 months.
- Repeat offenders with a prior conviction for assault during the past two years, they’ll be sentenced for the next higher class of offense. It is important to note that a sentence of imprisonment will be served at a place other than a place within the custody of the state department of corrections!!
Class 2 misdemeanor:
- The maximum fine that can be fixed by the court in case of an offense involving a class 2 misdemeanor will not be more than $750.
- Further, under ARS 13-707, the maximum time of a sentence involving imprisonment for a class 2 misdemeanor will be four months.
Class 3 misdemeanor:
- Concerning Arizona Revised Statutes 13-802, the maximum fine taken by the court in case of an offense involving a class 3 misdemeanor will not be more than $500.
- Under ARS 13-707, the maximum duration of a sentence involving imprisonment for a class 3 misdemeanor will not be more than thirty days.
The table below summarizes how different forms of assault are classified as misdemeanors under different classes:
Who Has the Burden of Proof in Case of an Assault?
If you’re charged with an assault in Arizona, it’s upon the prosecution to prove any assault in the Scottsdale City Court beyond any reasonable doubt. You will be enjoying the presumption of innocence until you have been proved guilty or have been convicted in the trial!!
So the threshold is substantially high in case of proving the charge of assault, which would have to be established with available documentary evidence, bystanders’ testimonies, and other important things.
What’s the Process of Proving the Assault at the Scottsdale City Court?
Here’s a description of an assault case progression in the Scottsdale City Court:
The first court date given to you by the city court is generally termed as an arraignment. If you don’t have an attorney, you have to appear on your own in court.
If you have contacted our office, don’t worry about this as we provide the best attorney to represent you.
During the arraignment, the judge reads out the charge sheet detailing what you’re charged with, maximum penalties, the nature of the violations, and other important details concerning your matter. So, make sure you note all those things carefully if you don’t have an attorney.
If you’ve entered a plea of “not guilty” on the arraignment date on your behalf, a pre-trial conference happens in 30 days, where you meet the prosecutor and know about the plea deal. At this stage, you have an opportunity to ask questions about your case.
If you have contacted our office, we’ll have an experienced attorney to handle all these. Your lawyer also asks for the discovery to have access to everything which is there in the file regarding the charge. The prosecution is bound by law to provide this information to help the accused prepare their defense. Your lawyer also provides the notice of defense to lay a strong foundation for your case.
- Case Management Conference
After the pre-trial, the case management conference takes place within 30-45 days. Here, the judge manages the case by asking for the update from both sides. The Judge also orders for providing the relevant material or information in case the prosecution has not provided everything your defense attorney requested.
- Trial Readiness
In another 30-45 days, a trial readiness conference is held and this is the final court date before trial if you exercise that right. In some situations, your lawyer advises you to give your right to trial and settle your case with a plea or with some sort of deal after assessing the assault charges.
You can also get your case dismissed, which is called diversion. The dismissal can happen within two court dates depending upon the nature of the case, and the complexities surrounding it.
Once the trial readiness conference stage is over, your case goes to the final stage which is the trial. The outcome here is decided by the Scottsdale City Court.
How Do We Help You with Mitigation?
At our law office, we treat every client individually and our philosophy is to personalize your situation. To us, you’re more than a name and case number and we make our interactions human. We work closely with you to get important information about you, your life, and your special conditions, which we consider important for your case.
The necessary information is presented before the prosecutor and the court by us for working out the best resolution, which takes care of every interest!
What If I Face Any Assault Charges, Can You Help?
If you face an assault charge in Scottsdale, AZ, don’t worry! We are here to help you. Contact our team at (602) 833-7089 for a free consultation. We also offer free, no-obligation case evaluations, and we would love to answer every question that you may have. R&R Law Group is ready to represent you!