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A misdemeanor assault under A.R.S. § 13-1203 can be charged as aggravated assault under A.R.S. § 13-1204 under any of the following circumstances:


  • Causing serious physical injury to another;


  • Using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;


  • Committing the assault by any means of force that causes temporary but substantial disfigurement, temporary but substantial loss or impairment of any body organ or part or a fracture of any body part;


  • Committing the assault while the victim is bound or otherwise physically restrained or while the victim's capacity to resist is substantially impaired;

“It’s not aggravated assault just because the State says so.”  Lisa Witt

  • Committing the assault after entering the private home of another with the intent to commit the assault;


  • Committing the assault on a minor under fifteen years of age;


  • Committing certain types of assault while in violation of an order of  protection against the person;


  • Committing the assault knowing or having reason to know that the victim is any of the following:  a peace officer, constable, firefighter, fire investigator, fire inspector, emergency medical technician, paramedic, or a person summoned and directed by them while performing any official duties; teacher or other person employed by any school while on the grounds of a school or adjacent to a school or in any part of a building or vehicle used for school purposes; teacher or school nurse visiting a private home while performing any teacher’s or nurse’s professional duties; teacher engaged in any authorized and organized classroom activity held on other than school grounds; healthcare practitioner licensed or certified pursuant to Arizona law  or person summoned and directed by the healthcare practitioner while performing professional duties if accused is not seriously mentally ill or afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia; prosecutor, code enforcement officer,  state or municipal park ranger, public defender, or judicial officer engaged in official duties and the assault results from the execution of the official duties;

“Innocent until proven guilty--I punch holes in the State’s proof"

  Lisa Witt

  • Knowingly taking or attempting to exercise control over any peace officer’s or other officer’s firearm, weapon, or implement and the person knows or has reason to know that the victim is a peace officer or other officer and is performing official duties;


  • Committing an assault knowing or having reason to know that the victim is acting in an official capacity as an employee of any entity connected with a law enforcement agency or detention facility and the person is imprisoned or otherwise subject to the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Corrections, a law enforcement agency, a detention facility, or any other entity that is contracting with these agencies;


  • Committing an assault with a simulated weapon; or


  • Committing assault under A.R.S. § 13-1203 and both of the following occur:  the person intentionally or knowingly impedes the normal breathing or circulation of blood of another person by applying pressure to the throat or neck or by obstructing the nose and mouth either manually or through the use of an instrument and it is alleged to be domestic violence under any paragraph of A.R.S. § 13-3601 (A).


Depending on the circumstances alleged, an aggravated assault can be charged as a Class 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 felony with corresponding sentencing ranges of imprisonment for a first time felony offender of 3 to 12.5 years (Class 2), 2 to 8.75 years (Class 3), 1 to 3.75 years (Class 4), .5 years to 2.5 years (Class 5) and .33 years to 2 years (Class 6).



Lisa will thoroughly evaluate your case and determine if one or more of the following potential defense strategies apply:


  • Act described is not aggravated assault: The act described in the indictment may not fit the statutory definition of aggravated assault.  For example, the assault did not cause “serious physical injury” and should be charged as a misdemeanor.


  • Self defense:  The victim provoked you or started the fight first.


  • Eyewitnesses:  There may be eyewitnesses who can testify about the alleged assault.


  • Good character:  You may have witnesses who can testify that you have a peaceful disposition.


  • Mistaken identity:  Someone else committed the aggravated assault and you were mistakenly identified as the suspect.


  • Alibi:  You may have been working with other people or elsewhere during the period alleged in the indictment.


  • Bad character of victim:  The victim may be mentally ill, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or have other issues which leads them to falsely accuse you.


  • Improbability of victim’s story:  The victim’s allegations may be improbable based on the timeframe or other facts alleged.


  • Bad acts of victim:  The victim may have falsely accused someone else of aggravated assault, may have violently acted out against others, or may have a reputation for fighting.


  • Inapplicability of sentencing enhancements:  Sentencing enhancements such as dangerous nature of the offense, repetitive nature of the offense and/or offense committed while on probation or release do not absolutely apply just because the State claims that they should. 


  • Missing or tainted evidence:  Sometimes the State’s evidence cannot be produced or is corrupted. 


  • Insufficiency of State’s evidence:  The State may have insufficient evidence to prove aggravated assault beyond a reasonable doubt.


  • Suppression of State’s evidence:  The State may have violated your constitutional rights or otherwise acted illegally in acquiring evidence or your confession.


  • Reduction in number of counts: Each count of your indictment should concern a separate criminal act or victim and not be parts of the same aggravated assault.  In other words, the aggravated assault of one victim should be found in one count, not several.


  • Police misconduct:  There may be police misconduct in collecting the evidence, investigating the aggravated assault, interviewing the victim and witnesses, or obtaining your confession.


  • Prosecutorial misconduct:  There may be prosecutorial misconduct in disclosing the evidence, interviewing victims and witnesses, and in the general disposition of your case.


  • Possible other defenses:  Depending on the unique facts of your case, there may be other possible defenses.  Lisa thinks outside the box by diligently searching for defenses so she may come up with a novel defense that no other attorney has thought of before.


As you can see by the comprehensive circumstances found in A.R.S. § 13-1204 above, Arizona has a very broad definition of aggravated assault.  A conviction for aggravated assault can have serious consequences for you.    If you or a loved one is facing an aggravated assault charge, it’s very important to hire a thorough, intelligent and passionate defense attorney who will fight for you as soon as possible.  Call LisaLaw, LLC or fill out the on-line form for a free case review.

Lisa Witt is a Mesa/Phoenix, Arizona aggravated assault defense attorney serving clients facing charges in the East Valley, West Valley, Maricopa County, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Queen Creek, Gilbert, Casa Grande, Surprise, Goodyear, Buckeye, Youngtown, Ahwatukee, Avondale, Tolleson.

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