Aggravated assault is defined under A.R.S. 13-1204. It says that an Aggravated Assault occurs when there is an assault (classified under A.R.S. 13-1203) and there is also any one of the following circumstances:
- If the person causes serious physical injury to another
- If the person uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
- If the person commits the assault by any means of force that causes temporary but substantial disfigurement, temporary but substantial loss or impairment of any body organ or part or a fracture of any body part.
- If the person commits the assault while the victim is bound or otherwise physically restrained or while the victim’s capacity to resist is substantially impaired.
- If the person commits the assault after entering the private home of another with the intent to commit the assault.
- If the person is eighteen years of age or older and commits the assault on a minor under fifteen years of age.
- If the person commits assault as prescribed by section 13-1203, subsection A, paragraph 1 or 3 and the person is in violation of an order of protection issued against the person pursuant to section 13-3602 or 13-3624.
What are the penalties for Aggravated Assault?
It depends on which Aggravated Assault you are charged with violating. Often, with most Aggravated Assaults, the County Attorney wants some sort of incarceration.
Whether that is jail or prison can depend a lot upon the type of Aggravated Assault you are being charged.
If you are charged Aggravated Assault due to serious physical injury or using a deadly weapon, that is classified as a Class 3 Felony.
Aggravated Assault that causes substantial disfigurement, or impedes the airway (also must be a Domestic Violence offense with impeding airway) is a Class 4 Felony.
Most the other Aggravated Assaults are Class 6 Felonies.
If you are convicted of Aggravated Assault on a police officer it is a Class 5 Felony, unless there was an injury and then it is a Class 4 Felony.
Aggravated Assault, Victims, and Other Protected People
There are times where the victim, or who the victim is, that dictates if a person will be charged with an Aggravated Assault. You can be charged with an Aggravated Assault if you commit an assault and know or have reason to know the victim is any of the following:
- A peace officer (cop) or a person summoned and directed by the officer. (This is one of the most common Aggravated Assaults we see as this gets charged many times there is any resistance when being arrested. This circumstance can quickly escalate to an Aggravated Assault charge).
- A constable or a person summoned and directed by the constable while engaged in the execution of any official duties or if the assault results from the execution of the constable’s official duties.
- A firefighter, fire investigator, fire inspector, emergency medical technician or paramedic engaged in the execution of any official duties or a person summoned and directed by such individual while engaged in the execution of any official duties or if the assault results from the execution of the official duties of the firefighter, fire investigator, fire inspector, emergency medical technician or paramedic.
- A teacher or other person employed by any school and the teacher or other employee is on the grounds of a school or grounds adjacent to the school or is in any part of a building or vehicle used for school purposes, any teacher or school nurse visiting a private home in the course of the teacher’s or nurse’s professional duties or any teacher engaged in any authorized and organized classroom activity held on other than school grounds.
- A health care practitioner who is certified or licensed pursuant to title 32, chapter 13, 15, 17 or 25, or a person summoned and directed by the licensed health care practitioner while engaged in the person’s professional duties. This subdivision does not apply if the person who commits the assault is seriously mentally ill, as defined in section 36-550, or is afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.
- A prosecutor while engaged in the execution of any official duties or if the assault results from the execution of the prosecutor’s official duties.
- A code enforcement officer as defined in section 39-123 while engaged in the execution of any official duties or if the assault results from the execution of the code enforcement officer’s official duties.
- A state or municipal park ranger while engaged in the execution of any official duties or if the assault results from the execution of the park ranger’s official duties.
- A public defender while engaged in the execution of any official duties or if the assault results from the execution of the public defender’s official duties.
- A judicial officer while engaged in the execution of any official duties or if the assault results from the execution of the judicial officer’s official duties.
Aggravated Assault can also occur if the person commits an assault by either intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person, intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury or knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure the person, and both of the following occur:
- The person intentionally or knowingly impedes the normal breathing or circulation of blood of another person by applying pressure to the throat or neck or by obstructing the nose and mouth either manually or through the use of an instrument.
- Any of the circumstances exists that are set forth in A.R.S 13-3601, subsection A, paragraph 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.
- This is the Domestic Violence Statute. The applicable circumstances are:
- The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of marriage or former marriage or of persons residing or having resided in the same household.
- The victim and the defendant have a child in common.
- The victim or the defendant is pregnant by the other party.
- The victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
- The victim is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the defendant.
- The relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship.
What is the most commonly charged type of Aggravated Assault?
There are many different circumstances that can rise to the level of an Aggravated Assault. Our team commonly sees 5 different types of Aggravated Assault
- Causing serious physical injury
- Using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
- The assault causes a substantial disfigurement or fracture
- The “victim” is a police officer
- The assault was a domestic violence offense and involved choking the victim
Aggravated Assault can come in many other terms, but these are the most commonly charged that our team sees.
What does “Causing serious physical injury” mean in Aggravated Assault cases?
Serious physical injury is defined as including physical injury that creates a reasonable risk of death, or that causes serious and permanent disfigurement, serious impairment of health or loss or protracted impairment of the function of any bodily organ or limb.
What is considered a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument?
A deadly weapon is defined as anything designed for lethal use, including a firearm. These are usually pretty straightforward – guns, knives, and swords.
Dangerous instruments can be a bit trickier. This is defined as anything that under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury.
Dangerous instruments can include a baseball bat, a vehicle, golf clubs, a tire iron, etc.
When you think of a dangerous instrument it is usually very circumstantial in how the item is used during the assault. For example, a pen would not be considered a dangerous instrument.
But if I used that pen to stab you, then it could be argued that the circumstances in which the pen was used was capable of causing death or serious physical injury.
There was only one altercation but I got charged with multiple counts of Aggravated Assault, why?
Often times there can be crossover between the sections.
County Attorneys will routinely charge multiple sections stemming from the same act.
For instance, if you are alleged to have stabbed someone with a knife.
The knife could have caused serious physical injury, which is an Aggravated Assault. The knife would be considered a deadly or dangerous instrument, which is a different Aggravated Assault.
Lastly, it is likely that a knife would could be considered to have caused a substantial disfigurement, which is yet another classification under Aggravated Assault.
You can also be charged for multiple victims that stem from one event.
An example of this is when a gun is brandished at a group of people. If you are alleged to have pointed a gun at a victim, that would be an Aggravated Assault.
This is because the victim is placed in reasonable apprehension of immediate and substantial risk of serious physical injury or death.
Even the other members of the group that did not get a gun pointed directly at them could be considered victims if they were places in the same reasonable apprehension of imminent harm.
urther, the gun would be considered a dangerous instrument so you could get charged twice for each victim. This is how a bad situation can turn really bad for you in the courtroom.