Felony Assault FAQs
Generally, assault is a misdemeanor in Arizona; however, in certain circumstances, prosecutors can charge assault as a felony. Felony assault cases are incredibly serious and almost always carry the very real possibility of jail time if you are convicted. Thus, if you face allegations of a violent crime, it is imperative that you learn as much as you can about the crime you’ve been charged with, what the most common defenses are, and what you could be looking at if you are convicted. Read on to review some felony assault FAQs that will provide you with the knowledge you need to approach your case with confidence.
At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our Phoenix criminal defense attorney has more than 20 years of hands-on experience defending clients charged with felony crimes. Over this time, we’ve successfully handled countless cases, helping our clients stay out of jail so they can move on with their lives once their case is over.
In Arizona, felony assault goes by the name “aggravated assault,” which is discussed in Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1204. Under this section, someone commits felony assault if they commit a misdemeanor assault and any one of the following apply:
- The victim suffered serious physical injury;
- The defendant used a deadly weapon or “dangerous instrument”;
- The victim was disfigured, suffered a broken bone, or the impairment of an organ;
- The alleged victim was bound up or otherwise unable to resist;
- The assault was committed after the defendant entered the alleged victim’s home;
- The alleged victim was under 15, and the defendant was over 18;
- The alleged victim had a protective order against the defendant; or
- The alleged victim was a member of a protected class, such as law enforcement officers, firefighters, healthcare providers, or prosecutors.
Felony assault can be graded as a Class 6 felony, Class 5 felony, Class 4 felony, Class 3 felony or Class 2 felony. The seriousness of a felony assault conviction depends on the specific facts involved. For example, an aggravated assault involving the use of a weapon or that results in another experiencing serious physical injury is a Class 3 felony, punishable by a presumptive prison sentence of 3.5 years for a first-time offender. However, if the victim was under 15, then the same offense would be a Class 2 felony, which carries a presumptive prison term of five years.
Yes, under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1204(A)(11), using a “simulated deadly weapon” such as a fake gun to commit an assault will make the offense an aggravated assault. In this case, the offense is a Class 3 felony.
The defenses to aggravated felony assault include the following:
- The alleged victim provoked you or started the fight;
- You were acting in self-defense;
- The alleged victim’s injuries were less serious than they claimed;
- Evidence recovered by police was seized in violation of your constitutional rights; or
- The allegations were fabricated or exaggerated.
Keep in mind, however, that many defenses to felony assault will not completely remove criminal liability because you may still be guilty of simple assault. For example, if your criminal defense lawyer successfully challenges the government’s evidence regarding the seriousness of the victim’s injuries, you may beat the felony charge but could still be found guilty of misdemeanor assault.
If you or a loved one was recently arrested for a violent crime, the above felony assault FAQs are a good place to start, but you’ll probably have many more questions. If so, reach out to the Law Office of James E. Novak to set up a free consultation. Attorney Novak has decades of experience aggressively defending the rights of his clients and knows how to secure the best result possible in even the toughest cases. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Novak, call (480) 413-1499 today. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.