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Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer in Arizona

In a recent unpublished opinion, an Arizona woman appealed convictions for aggravated assault and resisting arrest. The case arose when a deputy sheriff was patrolling and was dispatched to a domestic violence incident. When he got there, he saw two kids outside the defendant’s home, and one was emotional. The kid told the deputy what was happening inside, so he approached the home. He heard a man yelling inside the house and saw the defendant sitting on a couch inside.

He knocked on the door and made eye contact with the defendant. She didn’t open the door, so he knocked some more. She let him into the house but immediately shoved him against the wall. He told her to stop, but she said she wouldn’t stop. He took her to the ground to get control, and she punched him numerous times in the arms and legs. He took out his Taser, and then she stopped resisting. The deputy’s finger was cut.

The woman was arrested for disorderly conduct and aggravated assault in violation of multiple code sections, including A.R.S. section 13-1204 and resisting arrest. The defendant was convicted of aggravated assault and resisting arrest, which are class 6 felonies. Her sentences were suspended, and she was placed on supervised probation for 18 months. The convictions were designated as class 1 misdemeanors, and she had to pay certain assessments.

She appealed, arguing there wasn’t enough evidence to support the conviction for aggravated assault. She claimed that the cut finger wasn’t traceable to the altercation and that it didn’t count as an impairment of his physical condition.

The appellate court explained that to convict her of aggravated assault, the prosecution had to show that the defendant knew or had reason to know that the deputy was a peace officer executing official duties and either recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally caused a physical injury to the officer. Physical injuries are considered an impairment of someone’s physical condition.

In this case, the deputy had been called to the scene based on domestic violence. The defendant had asked her kids to call 911. When the deputy knocked, he shone his flashlight at his uniform to show the defendant he was a uniformed law enforcement officer. The defendant was not surprised an officer was there when she opened the door. She also said that if he was taking anybody, he’d be taking her, which showed she believed he was an officer there to arrest her.

The deputy had testified that he wasn’t injured prior to the altercation and that the woman punched and kicked him several times. There was blood outside the door, and though the cut was minor, it still counted as a physical injury. The court found there was enough evidence to support the conviction for aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer.

The defendant argued it was a mistake for the court to have her review the pre-sentence report rather than explain the fees to her. However, she hadn’t objected at trial. The appellate court explained that the court should have orally stated the fees being imposed, but she was on notice of them because she got a report before sentencing, as well as a signed judgment listing the fees and assessments. The court affirmed, finding no fundamental error.

If you face violent crime charges in Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, or Scottsdale, consult attorney James E. Novak. He is an aggressive former Maricopa County Prosecutor who can use insights obtained as a prosecutor to determine a strong strategy. He offers a free initial consultation for people facing active criminal charges in his area. If you have been charged with a crime, call or contact The Law Office of James Novak at (480) 413-1499 and speak directly with Mr. Novak.

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