Aggravated Assault After Attacking Someone With a Deadly Weapon
Aggravated assault after attacking someone with a deadly weapon is a serious crime that can lead to severe consequences.
Being charged can result in a lengthy prison sentence, hefty fines, and a criminal record that can haunt you for life.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, aggravated assault accounted for 62.1% of all violent crimes reported to law enforcement agencies in 2019.
As a criminal defense law firm based in Phoenix, the Shaw Law Firm has extensive experience representing clients facing aggravated assault charges.
In this article, we will explore the following:
- The Laws Governing Aggravated Assault in Arizona
- The Distinction Between Assault and Battery
- The Differences Between Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault
- What is Considered a Deadly Weapon?
- Common Defenses Used in Aggravated Assault Cases After Attacking Someone with a Deadly Weapon
- When Accused of Aggravated Assualt, Hiring a Defense Attorney is Essential
The Laws Governing Aggravated Assault in Arizona
In Arizona, aggravated assault is governed by Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) §13-1204.
Under this statute, aggravated assault is defined as an intentional or knowing act that causes significant bodily injury to another person or involves using a deadly weapon.
The severity of the charge depends on the circumstances of the offense, such as the type of weapon used, the extent of the victim’s injuries, and whether the victim is a law enforcement officer or another protected class of individual.
Aggravated assault can be charged as a Class 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 felony, with penalties ranging from probation to 35 years in prison.
Additionally, an aggravated assault conviction can have lifelong consequences, including loss of certain civil rights and difficulty obtaining employment, housing, or professional licenses.
The Distinction Between Assault and Battery
Assault and battery are often used interchangeably, but they are actually two separate crimes.
Assault is the threat of imminent harm, whereas battery is the actual physical harm that is caused.
Assault does not require physical contact, while battery does.
For example, if someone threatens to hit you but does not actually do so, that is assault. If someone actually hits you, that is battery.
Both assault and battery can result in criminal charges, with the severity of the charges depending on factors such as the level of harm caused and whether a weapon was used.
In some cases, assault and battery can be charged as a single crime, known as assault and battery.
It is essential to understand the differences between assault and battery, as they carry different legal consequences and may require different defenses.
The Differences Between Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault:
Assault is defined as an intentional act that causes another person to feel threatened or fearful of imminent harm.
Simple assault is the least severe form of assault and usually involves no weapons. Simple assault can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances.
On the other hand, aggravated assault is a more severe form of assault involving a deadly weapon or causing serious bodily harm to the victim.
In Arizona, aggravated assault is classified under ARS 13-1204. This statute outlines the circumstances under which a regular assault becomes an aggravated assault.
These circumstances include:
- Causing severe physical injury to the victim
- Using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument during the assault
- Causing temporary but substantial disfigurement or loss or impairment of a bodily organ or fracture
- Restraining the victim or substantially impairing their ability to resist
- Committing the assault in the victim’s home
- Committing an assault on a child under 15 as an adult
- Knowing that the victim is a police officer or a firefighter, health care practitioner, teacher, prosecutor, public defender, or judge who is engaging in their public duties
- Taking or attempting to take a police officer’s weapon during the assault
- A prisoner assaulting a guard
- Using a simulated deadly weapon during the assault
These factors can result in different degrees of aggravated assault charges, with penalties ranging from probation to up to 35 years in prison.
What is Considered a Deadly Weapon?
A deadly weapon is any object used or threatened to be used in a way that can cause death or serious bodily injury.
Examples of deadly weapons include:
- Baseball bats
However, any object that can cause serious harm can be considered a deadly weapon if used in that way.
For example, a glass bottle can be considered a deadly weapon if it is used to strike someone in the head with force.
Common Defenses Used in Aggravated Assault Cases After Attacking Someone with a Deadly Weapon
Facing an aggravated assault charge after attacking someone with a deadly weapon is serious.
If you are in this situation, it is crucial to understand the defenses available to you.
Here are some common defenses used in aggravated assault cases, along with scenario examples for each:
Self-defense is a common justification used in aggravated assault cases.
If you can show that you used force to protect yourself or others from imminent harm, you may be able to use self-defense as a defense to the charges.
However, you must be able to prove that the force you used was reasonable and proportionate to the threat you faced.
You cannot use self-defense as an explanation if you were the initial aggressor or if you used excessive force in response to the threat.
Example: If someone with a knife attacked you and you used a bat to defend yourself, you could argue that you acted in self-defense.
Defense of Others:
Defense of others is similar to self-defense, but it involves using force to protect someone else from harm.
If you can show that you used force to protect someone else from imminent harm, you may be able to use the defense of others as a rebuttal to the charges.
Example: If you saw someone being attacked by a group of people and you used a weapon to stop the attack, you could argue that you acted in defense of others.
Mistaken identity is used when the defendant is falsely accused of committing the crime.
If the offender can show that you were not the person who committed the assault, you may be able to use mistaken identity as a defense to the charges.
Example: If you were at a bar when an assault occurred and the victim mistakenly identified you as the assailant, you could argue that you were not the person who committed the assault.
Lack of Intent:
Lack of intent is a defense that is used when the defendant did not intend to cause harm to the victim.
If you can show that you did not intend to cause harm, you may be able to use lack of intent as a defense to the charges.
Example: If you were playing around with a toy gun and accidentally shot someone, you could argue that you did not intend to cause harm.
Consent is a defense used when the victim permits the defendant to use force against them.
If you can show that the victim consented to the use of force, you may be able to use consent as a defense to the charges.
Example: If you were in a consensual fight with someone and they were injured, you could argue that they consented to the use of force.
Each case is unique, and the defense strategy used will depend on the case’s specific circumstances.
If you or a loved one is facing an aggravated assault charge, it is crucial to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
They can help you determine the best defense strategy for your case and protect your rights throughout the legal process.
The Other Person Threw the First Punch
Many people believe that they can use the fact that the other person threw the first punch as a defense to aggravated assault charges.
However, this is not always the case.
Even if the other person initiated the altercation, you could still be charged with aggravated assault if you used a deadly weapon or caused serious bodily harm to the other person.
The critical issue in such cases is whether your use of force was reasonable and proportionate to the threat you faced.
If you used excessive force in response to the initial punch, you could still be charged with aggravated assault.
Imagine that you are walking home from work when a group of strangers approach you and begin to taunt and threaten you. One of them throws a punch, but you are able to dodge it and defend yourself with a pocket knife you have on hand. In the ensuing scuffle, one of the attackers is seriously injured by the knife.
In this scenario, the fact that the other person threw the first punch is not a complete defense to the aggravated assault charge. While you may be able to argue that you acted in self-defense, the use of a dangerous weapon (the pocket knife) and the severe injury to the attacker will still be taken into account.
The key issue will be whether your use of force was reasonable and proportionate to the threat you faced. If you can show that you used the knife reasonably and proportionately to protect yourself from further harm, you may be able to avoid or reduce the aggravated assault charge. However, if the prosecution can prove that you used excessive force, you could still face serious legal consequences.
When Accused of Aggravated Assualt, Hiring a Defense Attorney is Essential
An assault charge carries heavy potential penalties and lasting implications.
If you are facing an assault, it is essential to seek legal representation immediately to ensure that your rights are protected and that you have the best possible defense against the charges.