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Glendale Aggravated Assault Lawyer

Personal violence can have many different outcomes. When the victim dies, the killer is charged with murder or manslaughter. When the victim lives, the charge is assault or aggravated assault. The difference between the two is generally how serious the victim’s injuries are or the status of the victim. In the past year, Glendale, Arizona has had 178 counts of assault. By definition, aggravated assault is considered more serious than simple assault, and a person convicted of it is subject to serious penalties. One can fight off a potential conviction by hiring a Glendale aggravated assault attorney.

Arizona Aggravated Assault Law

Under Arizona law, aggravated assault law is actually a two-part crime, involving two different statutes. First, there has to be an assault under section 13-203. Second, the assault has to meet one of the many aggravating conditions that section 13-204 describes.

Section 12-1203 defines an assault as one of three acts:

  • Causing another person physical injury, which must be done knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly
  • Intentionally acting in a way that causes someone to reasonably fear that you are about to cause that person physical injury, or
  • Touching someone, intending to cause that personal injury, to insult or provoke that person

If you commit one of those three types of assault, the crime may be upped to aggravated assault if the action meets any of several aggravating factors laid out in section 13-1204.

Aggravation Based on Type of Injury or Weapon

An assault is aggravated if:

  • It causes serious physical injury
  • It is committed by use of either a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument
  • It is committed by any type of force that causes a fracture of any part of the victim’s body, or a substantial though temporary disfigurement or loss or impairment of any organ of the victim’s body

These criteria may convert a misdemeanor charge into a felony, for instance when simple assault becomes an aggravated assault. If a domestic violence accusation with any of the factors listed above is met, a Glendale domestic violence attorney can advise you on how to proceed according to State and Federal domestic violence laws.

Aggravation Based on Status of Victim

An assault is also aggravated if the person committing it either does, or has reason to, know that the victim is any of the following:

  • A peace officer or constable
  • Any person who is a firefighter, a fire investigator, a fire inspector, or an emergency medical technician or paramedic that is executing official duties at the time of the assault
  • A teacher or other school employee while on the grounds of the school, areas adjacent to the school, in a school building or in a school vehicle
  • A teacher or a school nurse while visiting a private home in the course of the teacher’s or nurse’s professional duties
  • A teacher while performing any organized and authorized classroom activity being held off school grounds
  • A licensed or certified health care practitioner while engaged in his or her professional duties
  • A prosecutor, public defender, or judicial officer while engaged in, or as a result of, the execution of any official duties
  • A code enforcement officer engaged in official duties
  • A park ranger while engaged in, or as a result of, the execution of any official duties

Aggravation Based on Other Factors

Arizona’s aggravated assault law specifies a variety of other factors that raise an assault to aggravated assault. Among these are:

  • Assaulting a victim who is bound or otherwise restrained
  • Assaulting someone after entering the person’s private property intending to commit the assault
  • An assault by someone 18 or older on a victim under 15
  • Assaulting a person while in violation of a protective order
  • Assaulting a victim with a substantially impaired capacity to resist (oftentimes sexual crimes carried out against an intoxicated or unconscious person).


The punishment for aggravated assault varies considerably based on the aggravating factor in the specific case, which determines the class of the felony. The most severe penalties apply to class 2 felonies, with a prison sentence of up to 21 years. The least severe are class 6 felonies, but even these can be punished by up to 3 years in prison.


Defenses to aggravated assault charges range from the general defenses of police misconduct and violations of the defendant’s constitutional rights to very specific arguments that the facts of the case don’t satisfy the elements of the crime.

Factual defenses essentially say that, whatever happened, the incident didn’t involve the necessary aggravating factor (see above) that the state has charged. Among the most common factual defenses are:

  • The defendant didn’t commit the assault with the requisite “state of mind” (intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, negligently, etc.).
  • The victim did not have the requisite status (teacher, prosecutor, police officer, etc.)
  • The injury wasn’t serious enough to warrant a charge of aggravated assault
  • There was no “deadly weapon” or “dangerous instrument” involved

Get Top Notch Legal Help

Aggravated assault is a very serious charge. It’s best to get an experienced Glendale defense attorney involved as soon as possible, because every statement you make to the police–even at the beginning stages of the case, and no matter how innocent they seem to you—can come back to haunt you. You really need to talk to a defense lawyer before talking to anyone else.

A criminal defense attorney in Glendale, Craig Orent, knows Arizona criminal law from every angle. He has worked as a prosecutor and a public defender in both state and federal courts and brings decades of experience handling criminal cases of all types. A Board-Certified Specialist in Criminal Law, Craig has been ranked one of the nation’s top 100 criminal defense lawyers by the American Society of Legal Advocates, one of the top 100 trial attorneys by the National Trial Lawyers Association, and holds a 10 out of 10 rating from Avvo. Call today and get your defense started on the right foot.