Using a Weapon in a Threatening Manner

Phoenix Lawyer Helping Defendants Charged with Firearm Offenses

Threats and intimidation are taken seriously in Arizona. Depending on the circumstances, you could be charged for threats or misconduct involving weapons if you use a weapon in a threatening manner. This type of charge also has the potential to be charged as domestic violence or assault. At the Law Offices of James Novak, our principal is an experienced and skillful Phoenix gun crime attorney who uses insights gleaned from his prior work as a prosecutor to provide strong defenses to clients.

Using a Weapon in a Threatening Manner

Under A.R.S. section 13-1202, threatening or intimidating can include any of the following situations:

  • The defendant threatened or intimidated to cause physical harm to someone else or that person’s property;
  • The defendant threatened or intimidated to cause a serious public inconvenience, such as the evacuation of a building, as well as other scenarios involving public inconvenience; or
  • The defendant threatened or intimidated to cause physical harm to somebody else or damage their property in furtherance of or promotion of the interests of a criminal street gang, racketeering enterprise, or criminal syndicate.

This is usually charged as a class 1 misdemeanor, but when the use of the weapon is in retaliation for somebody reporting criminal conduct, such as domestic violence, or when acting as part of a criminal street gang, it can be charged as a class 6 felony. It can be charged as a class 3 felony when the threats and intimidation are done to promote a gang or crime group.

Using a weapon in a threatening manner may also be considered misconduct involving weapons in violation of A.R.S. § 13-3102. There are a number of ways in which this statute can be charged. One way that a prosecutor can prove weapons misconduct is by showing beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly carried a deadly weapon other than a pocketknife, which was concealed on their person or within their immediate control or on a form of transportation. This must have been done to further a serious offense, a violent crime, or a felony offense, or the defendant must have failed to honestly answer a law enforcement officer when the officer asked whether the defendant was carrying a concealed deadly weapon. Another way that a prosecutor may secure a conviction is by charging misconduct with weapons when the weapon was possessed on school grounds and used in a threatening manner. A violation under this code section can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances under which the weapon was used in a threatening manner.

A.R.S. section 13-1203 penalizes a number of circumstances that count as aggravated assault. One of these is committing an assault with a deadly weapon (or dangerous instrument) to intentionally put someone in imminent fear of serious physical injuries.

Sometimes multiple counts are charged. It is critical to retain an experienced attorney even before you are charged, if possible. Sometimes the involvement of a knowledgeable and skillful defense attorney can make a difference regarding which charges are brought by the prosecutor. Once charges are brought, moreover, there may be a number of different defenses available, depending on the specific charges.

All criminal charges need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, so raising doubt regarding just one element may be enough to secure an acquittal. For example, if you are charged under the intimidation statute, you may be able to show that you used the weapon for a reason other than to intimidate or threaten someone else and thereby negate that element. In some cases, it may be appropriate to claim self-defense or defense of others. For example, if you are charged with aggravated assault for using a weapon in a threatening manner, you might show that the other person threatened you first, and you responded with similar or proportionate force. There are certain statutory exceptions that may be applicable as well if you are charged under the weapons misconduct statute.

Consult a Gun Crime Attorney in Phoenix or Surrounding Cities

If you are charged for using a weapon in a threatening manner, you may be facing some serious penalties as well as the prospect of having a criminal record. It is important to retain a tough, experienced lawyer to present your defense. 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.

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