Mesa Assault Lawyer

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Mesa Assault Attorney

Criminal assault may qualify as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances under which it occurs. The identity, state of mind, and tactics of the person accused, the identity of the person allegedly assaulted, and many other issues determine the class and degree of an assault charge. Other alleged offenses committed or attempted concurrently may also shape the charge and the potential penalty.

If you face an assault charge, you could mitigate the burden that a legal entanglement imposes on you and others in your life by consulting with a Mesa assault lawyer about your options. Depending on the circumstances and whether you have a prior criminal record, you could seek a dismissal, reduced charge, or alternative penalty with the help of an attorney who not only has experience defending accused individuals, but prosecuting them as well.

Assault charges can also be aggressively defended under circumstance of self-defense or defense of others. Our attorneys have argued and brought to trial many of these types of cases. En Español.

LEGAL ELEMENTS OF ASSAULT

In Arizona, the crime of assault constitutes a misdemeanor under some circumstances, the level of which varies according to the circumstances. The Arizona Criminal Code describes three ways if committing ordinary assault, which include:

  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly injuring another
  • Intentionally placing another in apprehension of physical injury
  • Knowingly touching another with an intent to injure, insult, or provoke them

Even fairly serious assaults are considered misdemeanors, unless one of the facts or circumstances below apply.

These acts could lead to an aggravated assault (felony) charge if they cause serious injury to another, involve a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, include force that causes serious physical injury, take place after the accused enters another’s home, or occur under other aggravating conditions. Someone wondering how they might get an assault charge reduced or even dismissed could consult with a local assault lawyer to discuss strategic alternatives.

DANGEROUS OFFENSE

One of the important enhancements, or “aggravators” or “tags” that can be placed on aggravated assault is when the case is charged as a “dangerous offense”. This happens when the assault is accused of being committed with a firearm or other dangerous instrument of deadly weapon.

This enhancement is particularly important to consider and address, because it makes it a mandatory and elevated prison sentence if the defendant is convicted at trial.

Grand Canyon Law Group attorneys have extensive experience in these cases. They often arise in situations in which a person brandishes a firearm or points a gun in response to a threat (or to defend themselves or others). We are strong believers in the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. And aggressively fight the State when they file and pursue charges simply because they feel the use of force was not “reasonable” under the circumstances.

ASSAULT AGGRAVATED BY THE INDIVIDUAL AFFECTED

An assault that takes place against a member of a particular class of people may constitute aggravated assault. The charge may increase if the person accused violates a protective order or if someone 18 years of age or older has allegedly assaulted someone under the age of 15. A charge may increase from simple to aggravated assault if the alleged offense takes place against a peace officer, constable, EMT, paramedic, firefighter, fire investigator, fire inspector, school employee, health care practitioner, prosecutor, code enforcement officer, public defender, or judicial officer.

The identity of the accused or attendant actions, such as choking or using a simulated weapon, may also raise an assault charge to aggravated assault. Aggravated assault constitutes a felony of class two, three, four, five, or six, depending on the circumstances. Someone facing assault charges should contact a Mesa attorney to discuss potential means of obtaining a reduced charge or penalty.

THE ASSAULT ARREST PROCESS IN MESA

The police often are called to the site of an alleged assault to interview the people involved and witnesses. Someone involved in the incident has no obligation to answer the police’s questions about it. They should provide their name and address and produce identification if asked, but they should ask to speak with a lawyer before answering any questions.

There are limits to a police officer’s powers to arrest someone. If the police determine reasonable cause to believe a felony was committed, they can arrest someone without a warrant. If the suspected crime is a misdemeanor and the police did not witness it, they must get a warrant to make an arrest.

Simple assault is usually a misdemeanor, but Arizona Revised Statute §13-1204 describes many circumstances that could make an assault a felony, such as the presence of a weapon or dangerous instrument. An assault is also a felony if someone suffered physical harm or a disfiguring injury, if the perpetrator is at least 18 and the alleged victim is 15 or younger, and if the alleged victim is a public servant engaging in their duties when the alleged assault occurred.

YOUR RIGHTS AFTER AN ARREST

When the police arrest someone for assault, they must explain their Miranda rights before questioning them. The police must inform the person they need not answer questions without an attorney present. Although sometimes people believe they can explain the situation and demonstrate their innocence, the best strategy is to remain silent and contact a Mesa lawyer immediately after an assault arrest.

If the police fail to explain a suspect’s rights before interrogation, a defense attorney could ask the court to suppress the statements the accused made. However, if the police informed a suspect of their rights and the suspect voluntarily offered information or answered questions, their statements could be used as evidence against them.

Having an attorney present during questioning could ensure the suspect does not volunteer information that might harm their case. The presence of legal counsel also prevents the police from engaging in deceptive or misleading tactics to trap an accused into making statements against their interest.

BOOKING, ARRAIGNMENT, AND BAIL FOR ASSAULT CHARGES

When the suspect arrives at the police station, they undergo the booking process. The police will inventory the person’s belongings, take a photograph, and take fingerprints. They will allow the person to make one phone call within the local area.

An arrested person will have an arraignment and bail hearing within 24 hours. The judge could decide that the suspect must put up cash or property to guarantee they will appear in court to answer the charges.

In many assault cases, the suspect could be released on their own recognizance (OR). When deciding whether to grant OR, the judge considers the severity of the crime and its surrounding circumstances, the suspect’s criminal history, their ties to the community, and whether they have ever failed to appear in court as ordered in the past. After an assault arrest, our experienced Mesa attorneys can represent a suspect at the bail hearing and present persuasive arguments to release them on reasonable terms.

PROVING THE ELEMENTS OF AN ASSAULT CHARGE

According to Arizona Revised Statute §13-1203, to assault someone is to knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly cause a physical injury; touch them with intent to harm; or put them in reasonable fear of imminent physical harm. Proving the intent of the alleged assailant is critical to making an assault charge stick. Causing physical harm accidentally is not an assault.

If law enforcement officers did not observe an assault, statements from the alleged victim, witnesses, and the alleged assailant would usually provide evidence of the alleged assailant’s intent. If the alleged victim and assailant knew each other before the incident, communication such as voicemail and text messages could also help establish intent.

An alleged assailant must avoid making statements to law enforcement officers that prosecutors could interpret as establishing an intent to commit an assault. A suspect is entitled to have a Mesa attorney present during any interviews with law enforcement officers in the assault investigation process. Answering questions without a lawyer could significantly weaken a defense case.

OTHER EVIDENCE IN AN ASSAULT INVESTIGATION

Besides the statements of participants and witnesses, police officers investigating an assault will consider other evidence. They use the information they collect to decide whether they have sufficient proof to charge someone with misdemeanor or felony assault.

If the assault allegedly occurred in a public place, a video of the incident might be available. Officers will canvas the area to determine whether surveillance camera footage is available and review it if so. Sometimes, witnesses record an incident on their cell phones, and officers will also review that evidence.

If a complainant allegedly suffered injuries in the assault, reviewing their medical records could be an essential part of an investigation. Certain injuries merit elevating an assault charge to aggravated assault, a felony.

A DEFENSE LAWYER’S ROLE IN AN ASSAULT INVESTIGATION

People sometimes wait until after an assault investigation results in an arrest and criminal charges before contacting a defense attorney. However, a suspect could potentially avoid being charged if they work with a Mesa attorney during the investigation while the police are still collecting evidence.

A lawyer experienced in handling assault investigations can prevent an accused from implicating themselves when speaking with investigators. Additionally, they could present alternative explanations for evidence the police discover.

Our dedicated legal team in Mesa could present a coherent narrative explaining the evidence without implicating liability for the alleged assault. In such cases, law enforcement authorities might decide they have insufficient evidence to support an assault arrest and prosecution.

Mesa Assault FAQS

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF ASSAULT?

There are three elements to the definition of assault. To be convicted on assault charges, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intentionally or recklessly did one of the following:

  • Caused physical injury to another person
  • Placed another person in reasonable apprehension of immediate harm,
  • Made unwanted contact with another person with the intent to provoke that person

For the second element, “reasonable apprehension of immediate harm” means that a person is in fear of some sort of injury that may occur, and that their fear is warranted or justified under an objective standard. As to the third element, “unwanted contact” means touching with the intent to insult, injure, or provoke. For instance, a push or shove may not cause injury, but it could constitute unwanted contact with the intent to provoke.

If you are accused of assault for any of the reasons above, you will be charged with misdemeanor assault. If this assault happened under certain circumstances, you will be charged with a felony, or even a “dangerous” offense that can result in increased incarceration in prison or jail and other serious consequences.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASSAULT AND BATTERY?

Under Arizona law, assault and battery have been merged under the heading of “assault.” Battery is actually the physical touching of or causing injury to another person, while assault is placing that person in fear. The knowledgeable local attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group can answer any further questions about the legal definitions of assault and battery and create a tailored defense for the specific charges.

HOW LONG ARE ASSAULT INVESTIGATIONS BEFORE AN ARREST?

The investigation could be as short as just a few minutes. For example, officers are often called to the scene of a domestic dispute or a fight where accusations of assault are made. The officers may gather information for a few minutes to determine what happened, and they will quickly make an arrest if they believe there has been an assault.

Unfortunately, these decisions are often wrong. Officers can believe the wrong witness, misunderstand the situation, or fail to contact important witnesses, leaving the accused to deal with the criminal charges and attempting to set the record straight. This can be extremely difficult and the consequences devastating if they attempt to go it alone.

Many assault investigations last longer, depending on the complexity or type of scenario. However, in any situation, it is crucial to contact a skilled assault attorney at our Mesa office, even before answering the officers’ questions.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF AN ASSAULT CASE IN MESA?

The legal process for an assault charge is similar to most other criminal cases in Mesa. A complaint gets filed in court, after which the defendant is arraigned on those charges and has an appearance before a judge. Police reports are disclosed between the parties, and the state has an obligation to turn over those reports.

Once a defendant retains an experienced assault lawyer in the area, the attorney can begin their investigation and put in motion the defense strategy. This may involve interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence like surveillance video footage, radio calls, or officer body camera footage. There are all sorts of evidence that may exist in an assault case, and a good defense attorney will do a quality investigation into the source of the allegations and whether they can be proven.

The assault case will either be resolved through some sort of an agreement or it will go to trial. Our knowledgeable attorneys have handled countless assault cases and use our experience to answer a defendant’s questions, guide our clients through the process, and obtain the best possible outcome.

HOW LONG IS THE LEGAL PROCESS FOR ASSAULT CHARGES?

If the assault charges are misdemeanor, the process can typically last a few months, but can extend up to a year of more in rare situations. For a felony assault involving serious injury or use of a deadly weapon, the legal process can be as short as a few months but can commonly last up to a year or more.

While some cases require an expedited resolution, our goal is always in obtaining the best outcome, not the fastest. Our dedicated lawyers know how to combat the prosecution’s tactics, and we tirelessly represent our clients against assault allegations. We work to prevent a conviction or get the best results for our clients for every single client.

CONSULT WITH A MESA ASSAULT ATTORNEY TODAY

Whether or not an assault took place, a skilled defense attorney will provide the best chance at a positive outcome. The strategies will depend on the facts and evidence of the case.

Avoid waiting too long before considering the legal options available to you. Consult with a Mesa assault lawyer about your case and your priorities. An informed response to a criminal charge can have a critical effect on the outcome of the case.

Assault is a criminal charge that can occur in multiple ways, the most obvious of which is by causing injury to another person. However, many people are surprised to hear that you can be charged and convicted of assault without causing any injury, and even without touching another person. For instance, you can be charged and convicted of assault for placing someone in fear of injury, or by physically touching another person with intent to injure, insult, or provoke them.

These charges carry severe penalties, damage to your record and reputation, and potential jail time. It is crucial that you seek legal representation from an aggressive, knowledgeable lawyer at the Grand Canyon Law Group. Our former prosecutors, now dedicated defense attorneys, can answer any questions about assault cases in Mesa and fight to protect your way of life against these serious allegations.

Schedule A Consultation With The Grand Canyon Attorney Who Can Help