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Defendant in Arizona Aggravated Assault Case Unsuccessfully Argues that Officer was Unqualified to Testify at Trial

In a recent case before an Arizona court of appeals, the defendant argued that his convictions and sentences for aggravated assault should be reversed. According to the defendant, the expert that testified on behalf of the prosecution during trial should not have been allowed to present himself as an expert. The court of appeals reviewed the officer’s qualifications, disagreed with the defendant’s analysis, and ultimately denied the defendant’s appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the court-issued opinion, the defendant in this case was driving 80 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone. His car hit another car from behind, and both vehicles flipped over and eventually stopped on a nearby embankment. The driver of the front car was taken to the hospital, and doctors later diagnosed her with fractured bones, fractured ribs, a broken sternum, and lacerations throughout her body.

The defendant was charged with aggravated assault, and a jury convicted him as charged. The trial court then sentenced the defendant to three different prison terms for each of the three counts of aggravated assault of which he was found guilty. He promptly appealed the findings.

The Opinion

On appeal, the defendant took issue with part of the testimony presented during trial. During the proceedings before the lower court, a police officer was qualified as an expert and testified about the defendant’s speed leading up to the crash. In part, he told the jury about the defendant’s own statement that he was only going 45 mils per hour was likely untrue, based on the conclusions he drew from the vehicle damage, debris, and tire marks surrounding the crash.

The higher court reviewed the trial record in order to determine whether the officer was properly qualified as an expert on causes of vehicle collisions. According to the court, the officer had 23 years of experience handling cases such as the defendant’s case. He had participated in thousands of investigations of a similar nature, and many of them had been as serious as the incident in questions.

Looking at his qualifications, the higher court determined that the officer’s evidence was properly admitted. The testimony was relevant and reliable, and the prosecution met its burden in proving that he was qualified. With that, the court denied the defendant’s appeal, keeping his convictions and sentences in place.

Do You Need a Phoenix Aggravated Assault Attorney?

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Arizona, give the Law Office of James E. Novak a call so that we can help you figure out how to move forward. When there is so much on the line, you want to make sure you have the right people in your corner – at our office, we take pride in offering diligent, strategic, aggressive representation so that you can rest easy, knowing your case is being handled by the best.

For a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix aggravated assault attorney, call us today at 480-413-1499. You can also fill out our online form to have someone reach back out to you as soon as possible.


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