Aggravated Assault Causing Serious Physical Injury
An aggravated assault causing serious physical injury is punished more harshly than simple assault. It is defined under Arizona Revised Statutes section 13-1204. It occurs if somebody assaults someone else, and the assault results in serious physical injuries. While it is important to retain a Phoenix assault defense lawyer for any assault-related charges, it can be particularly important in the context of an assault charge that has been escalated to an aggravated assault charge. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our experienced principal was formerly a prosecutor. He may be able to provide a tough, aggressive defense against an aggravated assault charge.Aggravated Assault Causing Serious Physical Injury
Simple assault is likely to be escalated to an aggravated assault charge when the assault causes serious physical injuries. Aggravated assault is simply assault that occurs in circumstances that the legislature believes deserve harsher punishments than those for simple assault. For example, if you get into a bar fight, and the other person hits a stone table and suffers brain damage, you could be charged with aggravated assault causing serious physical injury. Less obviously, if you are driving under the influence, and this results in a crash that leads to another person becoming paralyzed, you could be charged with aggravated assault causing serious physical injury.
If you are charged with aggravated assault causing serious physical injuries under A.R.S. section 13-1204, the prosecutor will need to show that you committed assault under section 13-1203, and you caused a serious physical injury to someone else. You can also be charged with aggravated assault in other situations, such as for using so much force that a temporary but substantial disfigurement is caused or a temporary but substantial impairment of a body organ or limb function is caused. If the aggravated assault involved a dangerous weapon, and proving it would be more straightforward, the prosecutor may pursue that charge.
What counts as a serious physical injury? This term implies something that is significantly more than just any physical injury. Under A.R.S. § 13-105(29), serious physical injuries involve serious and permanent disfigurement, serious health impairment or protracted impairment of any bodily organ or limb function, or a reasonable risk of death. The prosecution can try to establish this through several types of evidence, including photographs and testimony.
In one Arizona appellate case, the court noted that there were no serious bodily injuries because the police had spent hours questioning and photographing a victim before allowing her wounds to be treated because they were not serious enough to mandate immediate care. The prosecuting attorney in that case tried to argue that it was a serious physical injury because her emotional or mental health was seriously impaired, and this was supported by the evidence. However, the court concluded that a plain meaning reading of the statutory language did not allow for injuries that are solely emotional or mental to be included as serious physical injuries. In that case, the convictions for aggravated assault were reduced to convictions for misdemeanor assault.
There may be other defenses as well. For example, sometimes you must protect yourself against injury, and in such cases it is common to argue self-defense. However, self-defense needs to be proportionate to the threat at hand. If you react in a way that is disproportionate to the level of force being threatened against you, it is unlikely that you can successfully argue self-defense. Similarly, it may be appropriate to argue defense of others. However, if you caused a serious physical injury, and the force that you used was disproportionate to the threat leveled against the other person, it will be hard to argue defense of others.Consult an Assault Defense Attorney in Phoenix or Surrounding Cities
Aggravated assault causing serious physical injuries is a crime that can be punished with prison time. You should retain a tough, experienced lawyer to present the strongest possible defense in your case. James Novak represents defendants throughout the Phoenix area, including in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and elsewhere in Maricopa County. Contact James Novak at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form.