Whether you throw punches in a barroom brawl or find yourself in a threatening altercation with a former friend, you may face serious criminal charges. In Arizona, prosecutors charge assault as a misdemeanor or felony depending on its severity. While misdemeanor assaults may not seem as grave as felony charges, a conviction can have haunt you down the road when applying for a job, housing, or professional license. If you are charged with misdemeanor assault, you should talk to experienced Tempe criminal defense attorney James E. Novak. Mr. Novak is a former prosecutor who uses his insights into the criminal justice system to provide a vigorous defense to those accused of assault and other crimes.Misdemeanor Assault
In Tempe, there are three different misdemeanor assault charges against which our lawyers defend. Under A.R.S. section 13-1203, a prosecutor could establish your guilt for assault if it can show beyond a reasonable doubt you: (1) intentionally, recklessly, knowingly (2) caused physical injuries to another. You intend a physical injury if you mean for your act to physically hurt someone. Physical injury is an impairment of your physical condition.
“Knowingly” inflicting injury doesn't mean you intended a victim's injury. Rather, if you act "knowingly," you are deliberately behaving in a way that's criminalized by the assault statute. For example, kicking someone and causing contusions constitutes knowing commission of the behavior of the type prohibited explicitly by the misdemeanor assault law.Knowing or Intentional Assault
When an assault is perpetrated knowingly or intentionally, it is a class 1 misdemeanor. For a class 1 misdemeanor conviction, you can face up to six months in prison. If the assault was perpetrated recklessly, you could face class 2 misdemeanor charges. The court will consider you to have acted "recklessly" if you are aware of and consciously disregard a substantial and unjustifiable risk created by your conduct. Generally, what you did must have grossly departed from the standard of care. You can face 4 months of incarceration for a class 2 misdemeanor.Reasonable Apprehension of Imminent Physical Injury
A Tempe prosecutor may also secure a conviction if it can prove beyond a reasonable doubt, you: (1) intentionally put somebody else (2) in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury. Assault perpetrated recklessly is a class 2 misdemeanor.Provocative or Insulting Touch
You may not realize that simply touching someone provocatively can be charged as assault. However, a prosecutor may be able to obtain a conviction for misdemeanor assault if it can show beyond a reasonable doubt you: (1) knowingly, (2) touched another, (3) intending to insult, provoke or injure the other person. Assault perpetrated under this section is a class 3 misdemeanor.
A class 3 misdemeanor assault sentence in Arizona may involve 30 days jail, 1-year probation, community services, anger management classes, restitution, and $500 in fines. If you are at least 18 and were convicted of the same misdemeanor within two years preceding the date of your current conviction, the court will sentence you to the next higher class of offense. The court must determine whether a previous conviction exists when an offense mandates enhanced punishment because it is a second or subsequent crime.Defenses Our Lawyer May Be Able to Raise
You shouldn't assume a conviction is assured. There are various defenses we may be able to raise if you're charged with assault. The specific circumstances will determine the appropriate strategy. We may be able to argue self-defense. In some instances, the police misunderstand who acted as an aggressor and arrest the wrong person. Our attorney may also assert an affirmative defense if you were defending someone else or property. We may be able to raise reasonable doubt by challenging the credibility of witnesses.Retain an Experienced Misdemeanor Lawyer
You should take misdemeanor assault charges seriously. Seasoned Tempe criminal defense attorney James E. Novak understands how prosecutors think and tailor a defense strategy to a particular situation. He represents those accused of assault and other crimes in Phoenix and Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, and Maricopa County. Contact him at (480) 413-1499 or complete our online form.