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Differences between Felony and Misdemeanor Assault in Arizona

Felony Assault v. Misdemeanor Assault charges in Mesa, AZ

There are two main differences between Felony Assault charges and Misdemeanor Assault charges:

  1. Aggravated Factors – Circumstances which are involved in Aggravated assault that are not present in Misdemeanor assault. Assault charges will be raised from a Misdemeanor to a Felony if at least one of 10 aggravated factors surround the offense;
  2. Penalties – Sentencing for felony assault convictions include prison terms. Misdemeanor Assault convictions may carry up to one year in jail, but not in prison.

Arizona Felony Assault Laws – A.R.S. § 13-1204 (A)

A person may be guilty of felony assault under A.R.S. § 13-1204 (A)

  1. If the person commits a misdemeanor assault under A.R.S. § 13-1203; and
  2. One or more of the following aggravating factors;
  • Serious physical harm or injury was sustained by the victim;
  • A deadly or dangerous weapon is used;
  • The use of force by the offender which caused disfigurement (temporary but substantial); physical impairment;  or fracture;
  • The victim was bound, restrained, or their ability to resist the assault was substantially impaired;
  • The offender impedes or obstructs the normal breathing or blood circulation of another person by chocking the victim’s neck or throat, either manually or through the use of an instrument
  • Entry into another person’ private residence with the intent to assault them;
  • The offender is 18 years or older and commits assault on a person under age 15;
  • Assault in violation of a valid restraining order;
  • Gaining or attempting to gain control of a law enforcement officials firearm or weapon;
  • Assault against persons of particular profession including: police or peace officers, firefighter, EMS personnel, school teacher or employee, licensed health professionals while they are performing the duties of their job;  public defenders or criminal prosecutors

Classifications for Misdemeanor v. Aggravated Assault  Tempe AZ

  • Misdemeanor charge classifications range from Class 6 (least severe) to Class 1 (most severe);
  • Felony charge classifications range from Class 6 (least serious) to Class to Class 2 (most serious);
  • Class 1 felonies are the most serious of all felonies and are reserved for Homicide convictions.

Penalties for Felony Assault Offenses

Penalties for Felony Assaults are far more severe than Misdemeanor Assaults. Punishments that apply to felonies but not misdemeanors include:

  • Sentencing for first offense convictions and range from prison terms of minimum 18 months for the least severe, to 25 years or life sentences for most severe;
  • Exorbitant fines of up to $150,000.00;
  • Felony criminal record;
  • Loss of civil rights (voting rights and right to bear arms);
  •  Death penalty, if assault results in homicide.

Defense for Assault Charges

Due to the seriousness of assault charges in Tempe, you should always retain experienced criminal defense representation if you have been accused of any assault. Your attorney will make sure you are treated fairly; your rights are protected, and defend your charges. This will give you the best chance for a favorable outcome or resolution.