Aggravated Assault in Arizona: When a Misdemeanor Becomes a Felony

Under Arizona law, any of the following are considered to be assault:
  1. Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person;
  2. Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury;
  3. Knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke such person.

Simple assault is a misdemeanor. Under certain circumstances, however, you may be charged with aggravated assault, which is a felony.

What is aggravated assault in Arizona?

Aggravated assault is a more serious crime that results in felony charges. If convicted, you face jail time and harsher punishment, and you put your future employment in jeopardy. If you have been charged with aggravated assault, it is very important that you contact an experienced Phoenix criminal defense lawyer, who will answer your questions thoroughly and explain your rights. The dividing line between assault and aggravated assault is not always clear, and can become very complex depending on the circumstances.

For example, assault becomes aggravated assault when you commit assault, but also:
  • Cause serious physical injury to another;
  • Use a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
  • Enter a private home with the intent to commit assault;
  • Are 18 or older and assault someone who is 15 or younger;
  • Know that the person is a peace officer or a person officially summoned and directed by the officer;
  • Know the victim is a teacher or school employee who is on school grounds, in any part of a building or vehicle used for school purposes, or otherwise performing professional duties;
  • The victim is physically restrained or the capacity to resist is substantially impaired;
  • Know that the victim is a fire fighter, paramedic, or other medical professional performing an official duty;
  • Use 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.

The laws differ somewhat if you already have been imprisoned and commit assault. Aggravated assault is a very serious crime that can have a long-term impact on your life. Contact one of our Maricopa County criminal defense lawyers today at 888-929-5292 so we can answer your questions and explain your rights. Our first consultation is free, and we also offer a free book: Arizona Criminal Law - What You Must Know.