The concept of assault seems like it should be straightforward: don’t hit people, and if someone hits you, call the police. The reality of the matter is far more complex. The legal definition of assault includes both dealing actual physical injury to a person and merely threatening to inflict physical injury. That means you can be prosecuted for the crime of assault if you put someone in apprehension of physical danger, even if you never actually physically harmed the other person.

Different Types of Assault

Arizona Law divides assault into two different types: misdemeanor assault and aggravated assault. If you are found guilty of either crime, you may face severe penalties, such as incarceration, hefty fines, restitution to the victim, and mandatory probation, not to mention the cost of your legal fees.

Simple Assaults are misdemeanors. Simple assault is defined as causing physical injury to another person, irrespective of whether the injury was intentional or reckless, touching another person with intent to injure or provoke them, or placing a person in apprehension of imminent physical injury.

Aggravated Assaults are felonies. As such, being convicted of this crime carries more severe penalties than with simple assault. Arizona law distinguishes aggravated assault from simple assault by the presence of certain aggravating factors, described below.

What Constitutes Aggravated Assault?

Aggravated assault is when a person commits certain aggravating actions in addition to the behaviors that constitute simple assault. Depending on how severe the assault it, people convicted of aggravated assault can expect to go to prison from anywhere from 18 months to 21 years. All of the following acts may be consider aggravating factors:


  • Using a deadly weapon or a dangerous object
  • Restraining or binding the victim to impair their ability to resist
  • Causing serious physical injury
  • Causing temporary but substantial disfigurement or loss
  • Causing impairment or fracture of body parts
  • If an adult over the age of 18 assaults a child under the age of 15
  • If an otherwise simple assault was in violation of an order of protection
  • If a person commits assault in the victim’s residence after entering with the intent to assault them
  • Taking control or attempting to gain control of a police officer’s firearm
  • Assaulting certain individuals in the performance of their duty, including but not limited to:
    • Police officers
    • Firefighters
    • Paramedics
    • Teachers and school employees
    • Doctors and healthcare professionals
    • Public defenders and criminal prosecutors

Contact an Attorney

An assault conviction can change your life forever. If you have been accused of assault, then you definitely need to seek representation by a skilled criminal attorney. Our experienced attorneys will ensure you receive the representation that you need. Contact us today to set up a consultation with a member of our experienced legal team.


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