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Arizona Court Denies Defendant’s Appeal in Aggravated Assault Case

Late last month, the Arizona Court of Appeals considered whether a defendant acquitted of a disorderly conduct charge should be granted reconsideration of a separate aggravated assault charge. The defendant involved in the case had originally been charged with both disorderly conduct and aggravated assault, but a jury acquitted him of the disorderly conduct charge and convicted him of the aggravated assault charge. In the defendant’s appeal, he argued that acquittal on one charge meant his second charge should also be reconsidered. Ultimately, the court disagreed, and the defendant’s original verdict was sustained.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant in this case was staying with his sister in her home for a few days, along with his two children and her three children. Early one morning, the defendant was in the home, yelling at his youngest child. The defendant’s sister, watching the incident unfold, stepped in and demanded that the defendant stop yelling.

After a few moments of arguing, the defendant balled up his fists and began sprinting toward his sister. He backed her into a wall, at which point he dropped his forehead into her face. The headbutt fractured the sister’s nasal bone. One of the children immediately called 911, and the defendant was charged with aggravated assault as well as disorderly conduct.

The Decision

The defendant was convicted of the aggravated assault charge and acquitted of the disorderly conduct charge. On appeal, the defendant’s main argument was that because he was acquitted of the second charge, his first charge should be revisited. According to the defendant, because he was not found guilty of the disorderly conduct charges, his aggravated assault conviction should be viewed more as a “mistake” than as an intentional act of violence.

The court examined definitions of both aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, ultimately concluding that even though the defendant had not committed the disorderly conduct crime, he could still be found guilty of the aggravated assault crime. Under Arizona statute, when a person intentionally disturbs the peace of a household or neighborhood, that person is guilty of disorderly conduct. Aggravated assault, on the other hand, occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes physical injury to another person.

In this scenario, even if the defendant did not intentionally disturb the peace in his sister’s household, he still intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused physical injury to her person. Thus, the aggravated assault conviction should still stand.

The court affirmed the defendant’s original verdict.

Have You Been Charged with a Violent Crime in Arizona?

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in the state of Arizona, give us a call at the Law Office of James E. Novak. We understand that when a guilty verdict isn’t an option, you need the best defense lawyer in your corner. That is why we are committed to bringing you the highest quality, most aggressive representation that Arizona has to offer. For a free and confidential consultation, call us at 480-413-1499.

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