Defending Against Assault Charges in Arizona

The Impact Of Assault Charges On Your Everyday Life & How To Deal With Them

Picture yourself as a landlord or employer running a background check on an applicant, or even an online dater doing a Google search of your potential new partner. You see this person you were considering bringing into your life has previously been convicted of assault. Unless you’re looking to hire a hitman, an assault conviction will almost always be viewed as a highly negative factor. You probably won’t call this person back for an interview, or may even “ghost” a potential date convicted of assault out of fear for your safety. Placing yourself in this scenario can help you understand the gravity of your situation if you’ve been charged with assault in Arizona. For your free consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys, call 480-448-9800.

Criminal defense lawyer in Arizona

A.R.S. § 13-1203

Assault is defined in the state of Arizona by A.R.S. § 13-1203. There are three ways that someone can commit assault in Arizona. The first is by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person. Secondly, someone can commit assault by intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury. The third way to commit assault in Arizona is by knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke the person.

All of the assault charges above are misdemeanors. The first is a Class 1 misdemeanor, the second is a Class 2 misdemeanor, and the third is a Class 3 misdemeanor. A Class 1 misdemeanor is the most serious, with a Class 3 misdemeanor being the least serious.

Basic Assault Penalties

The sentencing guidelines for misdemeanors in Arizona are set forth by A.R.S. § 13-707. The maximum jail time for a Class 3 misdemeanor in Arizona is 30 days. For a Class 2 misdemeanor, this increases to 4 months. A Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to 6 months in jail in Arizona. A jail sentence for an assault conviction will usually be accompanied by fines, anger management or domestic violence courses, and community service.

A.R.S. § 13-1204: Aggravated Assault

Assault is not always charged as a misdemeanor in Arizona. If certain serious factors are present, the charges will be elevated to aggravated assault. Aggravated assault for the state of Arizona is defined by A.R.S. § 13-1204. Any of the three types of assault described above can be elevated to aggravated assault if any of the following 11 factors are present:

  1. The assault causes serious physical injury
  2. The assault involved the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
  3. The use of force in the assault causes temporary but substantial disfigurement, loss or impairment, or fracture of any body organ or body part
  4. The assault is committed while the victim is bound, physically restrained, or otherwise rendered incapable of resisting
  5. The defendant entered the victim’s home with the intent to commit assault
  6. The defendant is an adult and the victim is younger than 15
  7. The defendant committed the assault in violation of a protective order
  8. The defendant committed the assault against the victim knowing they were a police officer, teacher, firefighter, or other public servant defined by the statute
  9. The defendant takes or attempts to take a peace officer’s firearm or weapon
  10. The defendant is incarcerated, and the victim is employed by their correctional facility
  11. The defendant uses a simulated deadly weapon

Aggravated assault is a felony, and the degree will depend on the aggravating factor(s) and certain factors surrounding the victim. Aggravated assault can range anywhere from a Class 6 to a Class 2 felony in Arizona.

Aggravated Assault Penalties

Arizona provides special felony penalty guidelines for dangerous offenses, the requirements for which are usually met by aggravated assault. The prison sentencing guidelines for dangerous felony convictions in Arizona, set forth by A.R.S. § 13-704, are as follows:

  • Class 6: 1.5 to 3 years, a presumptive sentence of 2.25 years
  • Class 5: 2 to 4 years, a presumptive sentence of 3 years
  • Class 4: 4 to 8 years, presumptive sentence of 6 years
  • Class 3: 5 to 15 years, a presumptive sentence of 7.5 years
  • Class 2: 7 to 21 years, a presumptive sentence of 10.5 years

If the defendant has a previous dangerous offense conviction, the sentencing guidelines are even more severe:

  • Class 6: 3 to 4.5 years, a presumptive sentence of 3.75 years
  • Class 5: 4 to 6 years, a presumptive sentence of 5 years
  • Class 4: 8 to 12 years, a presumptive sentence of 10 years
  • Class 3: 10 to 20 years, presumptive sentence of 11.25 years
  • Class 2: 14 to 28 years, a presumptive sentence of 15.75 years

With the length of these prison sentences, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where it’s even possible for a defendant to get out of prison and commit a third dangerous offense. However, there are sentencing guidelines for these situations prescribed by Arizona law:

  • Class 6: 4.5 to 6 years, a presumptive sentence of 5.25 years
  • Class 5: 6 to 8 years, a presumptive sentence of 7 years
  • Class 4: 12 to 16 years, a presumptive sentence of 14 years
  • Class 3: 15 to 25 years, a presumptive sentence of 20 years
  • Class 2: 21 to 35 years, a presumptive sentence of 28 years

Defenses Against Assault Charges

Whether you’re charged with misdemeanor or felony assault, there are serious penalties on the line that could permanently damage your station in life. You and your legal representative should begin working on a legal strategy as soon as possible after an arrest in Arizona. There may be other defenses that are available based on your case’s specific circumstances, including violations of your constitutional rights. Contact our defense team to learn more at 480-448-9800.

Self Defense

Arizona law doesn’t expect you to sit back and take it if someone is attacking you. Self-defense is probably the most common defense against assault charges in Arizona and in general. You can use a reasonable amount of force to protect yourself or someone else against imminent bodily harm by another person.


There are some situations in which someone may consent to actions that may appear to an outsider to be assault. For example, someone who engages in a boxing match has essentially agreed to be punched repeatedly, which would otherwise be assault under Arizona law. Another example would be BDSM activities (as long as there is consent that has not been withdrawn.)

Property Defense

Some of the principles of self-defense also apply to the defense of property. However, you can’t use as much force to defend property as you can yourself or others. For example, if someone stole your bicycle and you shot them, the defense of property may not be a strong enough defense against any charges you face.

Contact Our Arizona Defense Team For Your Free Case Evaluation

An assault conviction comes with severe consequences in Arizona, and they will follow you to any state you move to for the rest of your life. There could be several special factors in your case that could be relevant to your sentencing as well as your potential defenses. At My AZ Criminal Defense Lawyer, offer free consultations by phone so that you can conveniently and privately decide if we’re the right representation for you, without the financial risk. To get started with your free case evaluation, contact our firm at 480-448-9800 today.

Published On: October 3rd, 2022Categories: Criminal Defense