Navigating the legal intricacies of assault charges can be challenging, particularly when dealing with aggravated assault. At Kolsrud Law Firm, a premier criminal defense firm in Arizona, we believe knowledge is the first line of defense.
In Arizona, assault can escalate to "aggravated" based on certain circumstances or the inclusion of specific elements, such as using a deadly weapon or causing severe physical harm.
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The implications of such a charge can have lasting effects on one's future, both legally and personally. This is why it's vital to be informed, prepared, and have expert legal representation.
This helpful article aims to shed light on the critical aspects of felony aggravated assault in AZ to give you a better idea of what to expect and how we can help.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.
ARS 13-1204 - Aggravated Assault Charges Defined
As a leading figure in criminal defense within Arizona, attorney Josh Kolsrud is thoroughly experienced with handling violent crimes from the first accusation to getting the case dismissed.
Arizona Revised Statute 13-1204 is the law that defines felony aggravated assault in AZ, setting clear distinctions between standard assault and aggravated assault. While standard assault involves intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing physical injury to another person, aggravated assault includes certain circumstances that make the offense more serious.
▶ Difference Between Standard Assault and Aggravated Assault
- Standard Assault: Causing injury to another person without any other aggravating factors.
- Aggravated Assault: Involving one or more serious factors, such as the use of a deadly weapon or causing significant injury, which makes the assault more severe in the eyes of the law.
An aggravated assault charge can change your life in big ways, both in legal terms and in your personal life. It's really important to know what this means, to be ready for it, and to have a good lawyer to help you. This article is here to help you understand what aggravated assault is and what it could mean for you. It will help you understand your legal situation better and make you feel more confident about what to do next.
Our mission is to represent, inform, guide, and advocate for our clients, ensuring they are given a fair chance in the face of serious charges.
What Makes An Assault Charge a Felony?
At Kolsrud Law Offices, we've seen firsthand the repercussions of such classifications on our clients' futures. In the context of assault, understanding the distinction between a misdemeanor and a felony is paramount.
Pursuant to ARS 13-1204, assault becomes a felony – or "aggravated assault" – when certain exacerbating factors are present.
▶ Examples of Aggravated Assault under ARS 13-1204:
- Use of a Deadly Weapon: Assaulting someone with an object that could cause death or serious injury, such as a firearm or another dangerous instrument.
- Serious Physical Injury: Causing serious physical harm that requires medical attention. Inflictions beyond minor bruises or cuts, such as fractures or wounds needing surgery.
- Assault on a Police Officer or Protected Professional: Assaulting certain professionals, like law enforcement officers, firefighters, teachers, or healthcare workers, while they are performing their duties.
- Assault in Violation of a Protective Order: Committing an assault against someone who has a restraining or protective order against the assailant. An assault charge is immediately escalated if it occurs while a valid restraining order is in place.
- Assaulting a Minor under 15 Years of Age: Certain assaults against minors may be classified as aggravated. If the victim is below a specific age or the nature of the assault is particularly severe, it becomes a felony.
- Assault with Criminal Intent: Assaulting someone with the intent to commit another felony, such as robbery or sexual assault.
In Arizona, transitioning an assault charge from a misdemeanor to a felony can significantly increase the potential penalties, making expert legal representation essential.
What are the Penalties for Felony Aggravated Assault?
Under Arizona's ARS 13-1204, felony aggravated assault is clearly defined, and its penalties are strict and varied. The details of each case are crucial in deciding the outcomes.
Duration of Imprisonment
The length of incarceration hinges on the details of the assault. For instance, a 2019 report indicated that assaults involving deadly weapons in Arizona that were not aggressively fought were more likely to result in prolonged sentences. Depending on the severity, imprisonment can range from a few months to over 15 years.
Beyond the potential jail time, those found guilty may face hefty fines, sometimes upwards of $150,000, depending on the crime's classification and severity.
Probation is a standard penalty, and statistics from 2020 highlighted that approximately 30% of felony aggravated assault convictions in Arizona resulted in some probationary measures. This requires regular meetings with a probation officer and adherence to set conditions.
Restitution to Victims
It's not uncommon for the court to mandate the offender to compensate victims for damages. This might encompass medical bills, lost wages, and other associated costs. Recent data indicates that restitution amounts in Arizona for aggravated assaults can average between $5,000 to $20,000, though this varies based on the injuries and damages sustained.
Depending on the crime's nature, an offender might be directed to attend counseling or anger management programs, emphasizing rehabilitation alongside punishment.
Lasting Criminal Record
One of the most long-term impacts is the indelible mark on one’s record. A conviction for felony aggravated assault remains a persistent reminder of the past, potentially hindering future employment, educational opportunities, and more.
At Kolsrud Law Offices, we're deeply familiar with these statutes and the real-world statistics behind them. With every case, we aim to defend and educate, ensuring our clients have a comprehensive understanding of their situation.
While the data and the statutes, like ARS 13-1204, provide a framework, our commitment is to humanize the process, remembering that behind every case number is an individual, a story, and a future.
Long-Term Implications of an Aggravated Assault Conviction
An aggravated assault conviction in Arizona doesn't merely end with immediate legal consequences, like prison time or fines. The ripple effects of such a conviction can profoundly impact aspects of an individual's life for years to come.
Employers often conduct background checks on potential employees. A felony conviction, such as aggravated assault, can be a red flag, making it difficult to secure a job. Even if you’re already employed, your employer might have policies that could result in your termination following a felony conviction.
Landlords and housing agencies also usually conduct background checks. A criminal record with a charge as serious as aggravated assault can lead to denials for rental applications, limiting housing options and potentially forcing individuals into less desirable living situations.
Strained Personal Relationships
The social stigma attached to violent crimes can lead to strained relationships with friends and family. This can result in feelings of isolation and can have long-term psychological impacts.
Loss of Certain Rights
In many places, a felony conviction can result in the loss of certain civil rights. Including the right to vote, bear arms, hold public office, serve on a jury, and parental right
Higher educational institutions often ask about criminal history during the application process. A conviction can hinder opportunities for higher education or result in the denial of financial aid.
Difficulty in Obtaining Professional Licenses
Many professional licenses, such as those for lawyers, doctors, or even driving instructors, require background checks. An aggravated assault conviction can be a barrier to obtaining or renewing these licenses.
Travel and Immigration
While U.S. citizens won't be deported due to a felony conviction, traveling abroad might be affected as certain countries may deny entry to those with criminal records. Non-U.S. citizens, including green card holders, might face deportation or denial of naturalization based on certain criminal convictions.
Our criminal defense team has extensive experience using these and other legal defenses to challenge aggravated assault charges in Arizona. We understand that every case is unique, and we are committed to developing customized defense strategies tailored to our client's individual circumstances.
Winning Defenses to Aggravated Assault Charges
The right defense strategy can make all the difference in an aggravated assault case. Some potential defenses include:
Perhaps the most well-recognized defense, asserting self-defense, requires proving that the defendant believed they were in immediate danger and that their actions were necessary to protect themselves.
For this defense to be valid:
- The perceived threat must have been imminent.
- The use of force should have been proportionate to the danger.
- The defendant must not have been the initial aggressor.
▶ Defense of Others:
Similar to self-defense, this strategy asserts that the accused acted to protect another person from immediate harm. The key here is to demonstrate that the accused genuinely believed their actions were necessary to prevent harm to another individual.
▶ Lack of Intent:
For many aggravated assault charges, intent plays a pivotal role. It could serve as a strong defense if the defendant can demonstrate that they had no intention to harm or threaten the alleged victim. Accidents or misinterpretations of the defendant's actions might fall under this category.
▶ Misidentification or Mistaken Identity:
It's not uncommon for individuals to be mistakenly identified as the perpetrator, especially in chaotic situations or when descriptions are vague. Providing an alibi or leveraging witness testimonies can support this defense.
In some situations, the alleged victim might have consented to a certain level of physical contact (e.g., in contact sports). If the defendant can demonstrate that the supposed victim provided consent and that they did not exceed the boundaries of that consent, it could serve as a potential defense.
▶ Insufficient Evidence:
A cornerstone of the American legal system is the principle that one is "innocent until proven guilty." Suppose the prosecution cannot provide enough evidence to prove that the defendant committed aggravated assault beyond a reasonable doubt. In that case, the defense can argue for a dismissal or acquittal based on insufficiency of evidence.
▶ Coercion or Duress:
If the defendant can show that they committed the act of aggravated assault because they were coerced or under duress – essentially, that they had no natural choice due to threats or immediate danger – it can be used as a defense. However, this argument requires concrete evidence of the external pressures that led to the assault.
▶ Constitutional Violations:
Suppose the evidence against the defendant was obtained in violation of their constitutional rights, such as through an illegal search and seizure or without the necessary Miranda warnings. That evidence could be suppressed, weakening the prosecution's case.
The charge of aggravated assault in Arizona is serious, but various defenses are available to contest the charges. That is why it's crucial to have legal representation to challenge the prosecution and apply the winning defense strategy to fit the unique details of each case.
Why Choose Kolsrud Law Offices?
When facing serious charges like aggravated assault, having the best legal representation is essential. At Kolsrud Law Offices:
- Experience Counts: Josh Kolsrud and his team have years of experience defending clients against criminal charges, including aggravated assault.
- Client-Centric Approach: We prioritize our clients, ensuring they are informed at every step and their rights are protected.
- Knowledge of Arizona and Federal Law: Our profound expertise in Arizona's legal system and our Federal system positions us as a top criminal defense firm capable of efficiently handling even the most intricate cases.
Facing aggravated assault charges in Arizona is a serious matter. By understanding the nature of these charges and the potential defenses available, you can take steps to protect your rights and future.
With the expert guidance of Kolsrud Law Offices, you can be confident that your case is in the best possible hands.
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An award-winning criminal defense attorney Since 2006
Why Choose Josh Kolsrud
With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication
Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients
Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.
As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort