Assault with Prior Criminal Convictions
Assault and battery are often charged after a fight in Arizona. Assault includes any attempt or threat to hurt somebody else. Simple assault or aggravated assault can be charged, depending on the circumstances. If you are charged with assault with prior criminal convictions, there may be serious consequences. Phoenix assault defense lawyer James Novak is a former prosecutor who understands the effect of prior criminal convictions, and he can strategize on how to handle your defense.Consequences for Assault with Prior Criminal Convictions
The penalties and sentences for an assault conviction can vary significantly, depending on the circumstances giving rise to the conviction. Generally, if you are a first-time offender, the court is likely to be more lenient with you. However, if you have repeated instances of violent behavior, it is likely that you will face harsher penalties. In order to be eligible for the enhanced penalty for misdemeanor assault, you must be at least 18 years old or tried as an adult. The calculation is from two years of the prior offense or the events giving rise to the charges.
There are three classes of misdemeanor assaults, depending on the severity of the facts giving rise to the charge. To secure a conviction for misdemeanor class 1 assault, the prosecution will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly injured someone else physically. To secure a conviction for misdemeanor class 2 assault, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally put somebody else in reasonable apprehension of imminent bodily injuries. To secure a conviction for misdemeanor class 3 assault, which is the least serious class of assault, the prosecuting attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly touched somebody else, intending to provoke, insult, or injure them.
As a misdemeanor, simple assault does not have particularly harsh penalties, but if you have a prior conviction for assault in the last two years, you will be sentenced for a higher class of offense. For example, if you are convicted of class 2 assault, and you were convicted of an assault associated with a bar fight one and a half years ago, you will be sentenced for class 1 assault, the most serious of the misdemeanor assaults. The idea is to provide enhanced penalties for people who repeatedly assault others.
Sentencing for felonies can be complex in Arizona, with felonies being divided into non-dangerous and dangerous felonies. Generally, dangerous felonies are those in which the crime was serious or violent. For example, aggravated assault causing serious injuries and disfigurement is a dangerous felony. The least serious aggravated assault charges are class 6 felonies, while the most serious aggravated assault charges are class 2 felonies.
Under A.R.S. section 13-703, if you are convicted of a felony and have one historical prior felony conviction, with some exceptions, you are sentenced as a category two repetitive offender. You will be sentenced as a category three repetitive offender if you are at least 18 or tried as an adult and convicted of a felony with two or more prior felony convictions on your record.
Aggravated assault that results in serious physical injuries or involves the discharge, use, or threatening exhibition of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon is considered a "serious offense." Under A.R.S. section 3-706, if you are at least 18 or tried as an adult and convicted of a serious offense, and you have previously been convicted of a serious offense, the penalties are even harsher. For example, with two or more serious offenses not committed on the same occasion, you could face life imprisonment without eligibility for suspension of your sentence, probation, pardon, or release from confinement until you have served at least 25 years or the sentence is commuted.Consult a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney in the Phoenix Area
It is important not to develop a criminal record that can result in enhanced penalties. If you are facing charges of assault with prior criminal convictions, however, you may be facing substantial penalties as well as a significant criminal record that could affect everything from your ability to rent an apartment to your ability to get a job. There are many potential defenses that may apply in your case, including self-defense, defense of others, defense of property, duress, necessity, or lack of the required mental state. It is crucial to hire a tenacious criminal attorney to present your side of the story. James Novak represents defendants throughout the Phoenix area, including in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and other cities in Maricopa County. Contact James Novak at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form.