Misdemeanor Assault FAQs

Experienced Phoenix Criminal Defense Lawyer Aggressively Defending Clients Throughout Maricopa County

Misdemeanor assault is a serious crime in Arizona, which can carry the possibility of jail time if you are convicted. And if you were recently arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault in Maricopa County, you may have questions about the process, what you’re facing, and whether you have any defenses to the allegations against you. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we recognize that knowledge is power, and we want each of our clients to be fully informed. That’s why we put together a list of misdemeanor assault FAQs. Of course, you may have additional questions, and that’s normal. If so, give us a call to schedule a free consultation.

What Is Misdemeanor Assault in Arizona?

Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1203, misdemeanor assault is a crime that makes it illegal to intentionally cause physical injury to another person or to place another person in fear of immediate physical injury. Touching someone with the intent to “injure, insult or provoke” them is also considered misdemeanor assault.

Do You Need to Hurt Someone to Be Charged with Misdemeanor Assault?

No, there are three ways you can be charged with misdemeanor assault, and only one of them requires the government to prove you caused actual injury. The other two subsections of the misdemeanor assault statute cover situations where the defendant places another person in reasonable fear of imminent physical injury or touches them with the intention of injuring, insulting or provoking them.

For example, walking up to someone at a bar and pulling your fist back as though you were going to punch them could be considered misdemeanor assault, even if you end up dropping your hands and walking away.

What Are the Defenses to Misdemeanor Assault?

There are a few common defenses to misdemeanor assault. Perhaps the most common defense is self-defense. You would not commit the crime of assault if your actions were based on a fear that another person was going to hurt you. However, for self-defense to apply, your belief that you were in danger must be reasonable, and the extent of force you use cannot exceed that which was about to be used against you.

Other defenses to misdemeanor assault include:

  • Fabrication – The alleged victim made up the charges against you;
  • Defense of Others – Your actions were intended to protect someone else who was in danger;
  • Intent – Although you may have hurt someone, you lacked the intent to do so; and
  • Provocation – The other person started the confrontation.
What Is the Penalty for a Misdemeanor Assault?

Misdemeanor assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor if you knowingly and willfully caused physical injury to another person. Class 1 misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanors and carry a possible sentence of six months in jail. However, if you recklessly hurt the other person, the offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to four months in jail. Placing someone in fear of physical injury is a Class 3 misdemeanor, which carries a possible jail sentence of up to 30 days. However, if you have a prior assault within the past two years, the offense will be graded one degree higher, meaning a Class 2 misdemeanor would become a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Are You Facing Assault Charges in Phoenix?

If you’ve been charged with assault, you probably still have questions even after reading over these misdemeanor assault FAQs. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, we want to help answer your questions and provide you with the knowledge you need to approach your case with confidence. We’ve been handling assaults and other violent crimes for over two decades and know what it takes to mount a successful defense in even the toughest cases. We offer free consultations, during which we will explain the process, listen to your side of the story, and offer our advice on how to secure the best possible result in your case. 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.

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