Articles Tagged with Aggravated Assault

A person will face “Dangerous Offense” Aggravated Assault charges if a deadly weapon is displayed or used in a crime.

An assault charge may be brought as a Misdemeanor or Felony (Aggravated). A person may be guilty of misdemeanor assault if they put someone in fear of bodily harm, touch someone with the intent of physical injury, or cause any physical injury to someone.

An assault charge will be elevated to a felony assault, a more serious charge, if they commit simple assault and any of eleven enumerated circumstances are present. Among these circumstances include: a serious personal injury results, a deadly weapon is used, or the assault is made on a law enforcement officer.

Recently in Arizona, a man allegedly threatened to kill a couple during a home invasion. Fortunately, neither was hurt. It was reported in the news, that the man broke into the house wearing only blue jeans and a blonde wig and carrying a gun. At some point the husband was able to retrieve his own gun and he shot the man who broke in.

The suspect ran from the scene and hid in a woman’s house nearby before the authorities caught him. He will face two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, two counts of kidnap-apprehension of injury and one count of burglary.

If the man in this case had come in without a gun, threatening to kill the husband and wife, he would be facing fewer potential penalties. In such a case, he might be charged with simple assault and burglary for placing the couple in fear for their life. In cases where a deadly weapon is involved, penalties can be very severe depending on the defendant’s prior record.

Many aggravated assaults are charged in spite of no actual injury to the victim. If convicted, a person guilty of committing an offense such as the this one described, will still be exposed to long term mandatory prison sentencing, despite the fact they were not injured. Even a first-time offender may face 5-15 years in prison. However, someone who had been convicted of a “dangerous offense” even once before could face 10-20 years in prison For a third conviction, a defendant could be penalized with a prison term of 15-25 years.

Arizona has followed a mandatory sentencing scheme for decades. It requires mandatory prison for people found guilty of a second felony or people who are guilty of “dangerous crimes”. A person may be guilty of a “Dangerous Offense” under A.R.S. 13-105 (13) if a deadly or dangerous weapon is used, or displayed as a threat in a criminal offense. This includes, of course, guns, but also knives and cars and anything else intended to be used as a dangerous weapon.

In addition to mandatory minimum sentences for crimes like aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a court may consider aggravating or mitigating factors in meting out a sentence. Mitigating factors might include a lack of a criminal record, good character, or model background. For example, if the man described above was a straight A college student with no prior felony or misdemeanor arrests and a background of charitable work, an experienced criminal defense attorney could argue that he should receive the minimum sentence for aggravated assault available to him. Similarly, a defense attorney who was able to show a connection between a troubled childhood and the aggravated assault might also be able to argue for the lowest possible sentence.

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Driving drowsy isn’t a crime. But it can lead to other serious vehicular offenses including DUI or reckless endangerment.

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Center for Disease Control (CDC) have released reports about hazards of “drowsy driving”. Both of these are high risk behaviors that can result in serious injury or death involving auto accidents.

While drowsy driving is not a crime itself, it could lead to the commission of serious vehicular crimes such as DUI charges, reckless endangerment, aggravated assault, or vehicular homicide.

Warning signs of both driving drowsy and DUI are often similar in nature. Drowsy driving can lead to DUI charges, even if a person was not in fact, impaired to the slightest degree due to intoxicating alcohol or drugs.

How to avoid Drowsy Driving

• Recognition of warning signs and prevention;
• Get adequate sleep. Drivers should ensure that they get enough sleep (7-9 hours)
• Be aware of increased risks such as commercial driving, long shifts or nightshift work;
• Seek medical attention for untreated sleep disorders;
• Do not drive while under the influence of sedating medications;
• Do not drink spirituous liquor prior to or while driving;
• Take precautions and prepare for days or nights of long distance driving such as getting extra rest and sleep before driving;
• If you are a high risk driver due to your work hours, arrange for alternative rides home with a friend or family member, bus, taxi, or other trusted and responsible person.
• If you are in a high risk group for driving get enough rest and sleep before and after your shift.
• If you are driving and unexpectedly find you are driving drowsy, pull over in a safe place will lit location; preferably a rest stop or motel if possible, to sleep until you are feeling alert enough to drive again.

Warning Signs of Driving Drowsy

• Frequent yawning;
• Frequent blinking;
• Difficulty remembering the past few miles you drove;
• Missing planned exits;
• Drifting from one’s lane;
• Hitting rumble (wake-up) strips;
• Staring or tunnel vision;
• Inability to remember recently past road signs;
• Drifting or weaving across lanes without realizing it.

DUI v. Drowsy Driving

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) researchers identified at least 100 driving cues that have been found to be associated with a Drunk Driving, or impaired. The signs or driving behaviors identified were presented and separated into four main categories:

• Weaving or drifting, and problems maintaining proper lane position;
• Speeding or difficulty braking when needed;
• Vigilance problems such inattentiveness;
• Difficulties with Judgment and decision making skills
Many of these signs are displayed by motorists who are driving while drowsy or tired. As result, a police officer could mistakenly suspect that a driver is under the influence of intoxicating alcohol or drugs. If the officer has probable cause to conduct a DUI blood test and trace compounds of a drug defined under Arizona law, in the person’s system, they are at risk of a DUI. Further if a person had only one drink of intoxicating liquor, which did not result in driving impaired to the slightest degree, they could be mistakenly determined to be driving impaired. A non-underage 21 person will be forced to defend their charges in court, even though they were driving drowsy and not impaired due to blood or alcohol.

DUI Defense Attorney for Charges in Gilbert AZ
If you have been arrested for DUI, or any vehicular criminal offenses in Arizona, you should retain a qualified and experienced criminal attorney to defend your charges. DUI laws and penalties are among the harshest in the country. Your criminal defense lawyer will defend your charges, and protect your rights. There may be defenses you are not aware of that could lead to a dismissal of charges or other favorable outcome in your case.

Additional Resources:

• Gilbert Arizona Traffic and DUI Unit

• Gilbert AZ Criminal Court Processes

DUI and Drowsy Driving – Laws and Criminal Defense in Arizona

National Centers for Disease Control – Drowsy Driving Report January 2013

National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA)

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Aggravated assault charges are assault charges that involved “aggravated factors” which elevated a Misdemeanor to a Felony. One aggravating factor that will raise a misdemeanor to a felony assault is if the offense was against a police officer. These types of charges carry long term prison sentencing and exorbitant fines. Conviction for this offense is egregiously pursued by the State of Arizona and Prosecution.

Felony Assault against a Police Officer
A.R.S. § 13-1204 (A)

A person is guilty of aggravated assault if they commit assault as defined in
A.R.S. § 13-1203 Assault, and knows or has reason to know that the victim is a police officer, or peace officer professionally engaged in their official duties; and
• A person causes serious physical harm or injury to the officer; or
• A person commits the assault by any means of force that causes temporary but substantial disfigurement, temporary but substantial loss or impairment, body organ or part or a fracture of any body part; of the officer; or
• A person uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument against the officer; or
• A person takes or attempts to gain control of a police officer’s firearm or other weapon.

Penalties for Felony Assault

Charges for Felony Assault may range from a Class 6 felony to a Class 2 felony which is more severe. The only charges higher than Class 2 are Class 1 felonies which are reserved for the most serious of crimes, homicide.

Depending on the seriousness of the assault, and number of offenses, and other factors, sentencing may include prison terms of 1.5 to 3 years for a Class 6 felony; and 7 to 21 years in prison for a Class 2 felony.

Fines for conviction may be ordered as high as $150,000.00, plus victim restitution, costs; fees; assessments, counseling, probation or parole; community service; and other harsh penalties.

If convicted, Felony Assault or Aggravated Assault Penalties can include lengthy prison sentences, long term felony criminal records that will follow you for a lifetime, exorbitant fines, fees, counseling, restitution to the victim, adverse impacts on your job and future job opportunities, negative impacts on your ability to get credit or loans in the future and any other punishments the Tempe court determines is necessary and appropriate.

Criminal Defense Attorney Felony Assaults Phoenix AZ
It is imperative to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney if you face aggravated assault charges. You can discuss your matter, and they will provide you with options for defense. If retained, they will protect your rights; make sure you are treated fairly; defend your charges; and look for evidence in your favor. They will represent you through the proper channels of the criminal justice system. There may be defenses that can be used, could lead to dismissal of charges; reduction in penalties or other favorable outcomes. For charges of this serious nature you should retain qualified legal representation as early as possible so they may begin working on your defense. This will also help you to avoid any unintended self-incrimination that could harm your case.

Resource Links:

Arizona Revised Statutes
Law Office of James Novak – Assault Laws and Penalties

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AZ Weapon Laws and Criminal Defense

“There are many defenses that can be used by qualified Criminal Attorneys in Arizona to challenge the evidence against you and weapon charges. Due to their potentially serious nature of weapon charges in AZ, you should contact an Arizona criminal defense or weapon’s charge defense attorney as soon as possible if you are charged or arrested for any weapon charge.”

Weapon Charges in AZ

Weapon Charges – Mesa AZ Criminal Defense Attorney

“Most of the best criminal attorneys who defend weapon charges in Mesa AZ will provide a free consultation. You can discuss your charges, potential penalties if convicted and defense options”.

Weapon Charges in Mesa AZ