Have you been charged with a violent crime in Arizona? If you are facing an assault charge, or if you have been arrested for some other violent crime, the attorneys at Castañeda Law can help. We will provide you with an intelligent strategy for your defense, and your initial consultation is free.
Violent crimes run the gamut from simple misdemeanors to serious felonies. Likewise, the penalties range from fines and probation to lengthy prison terms (and in extreme cases, even the death penalty). If you are facing a criminal charge involving an allegation of violence, it is essential that you understand the elements of the crime, as well as the potential sentence if you are convicted.
Assault and Other Violent Crimes in Arizona
There is a wide range of violent crimes, and knowing the basics of these offenses helps to understand what the prosecution will attempt to prove in order to obtain a conviction. Likewise, it can point to potential defenses that may be available to you. Here are some of the crimes in this category:
- Simple assault consists of (1) intentionally, recklessly or knowingly causing physical injury to another, (2) intentionally putting another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, or (3) touching another intending to harm, insult or provoke the person. It is a misdemeanor, and the class (that is, the level) of the offense depends upon the particular circumstances of your case.
- Aggravated Assault. This is an assault, coupled with one or more additional factors, including (1) causing serious physical injury, (2) using a deadly weapon, (3) causing a fracture, or a temporary or permanent disfigurement or impairment of a bodily organ, (4) assaulting a person while that person is physically restrained, (5) an assault in a private home where you enter the home for purposes of committing the assault, (6) assault by an adult (age 18 or older) on a minor under the age of 15, or (7) certain assaults against a person you know is a peace officer, a firefighter, or a teacher, among others, while that person is engaged in the execution of his or her official duties. Aggravated assault in Arizona is always a felony.
- If you recklessly endanger someone and expose that person to a serious risk of death or injury, you can be charged with endangerment. It is a class 6 felony if there is a risk of death. Otherwise, it is a class 1 misdemeanor. This is similar in some ways to simple assault by putting another person in fear of imminent injury, but the offenses, and the penalties, are different.
- Threatening and intimidation. This offense requires proof of a threat or intimidation, which can be by action or words. The threat, however, must be of causing physical injury, property damage, or public inconvenience (building evacuation, for example). In most cases, threatening and intimidation is a class 1 misdemeanor, but if it involves street gang activity, it could be charged as a felony.
- Drive-by Shooting. This is a class 2 felony.
- Kidnapping and Unlawful Imprisonment. The central element of both these offenses is the restraint of another person. Unlawful restraint is either a class 1 misdemeanor or a class 6 felony, depending upon the circumstances of the release of the person restrained. In a kidnapping, it must also be proved that you intended to hold the victim as a hostage, for ransom, for slavery, or to inflict death or a sexual offense, among others. Kidnapping is always a felony.
- Sexual Assault. In Arizona, rape is known as sexual assault. It is a class 2 felony. Depending upon the circumstances of the assault (using a date rape drug, for example), and the criminal history of the defendant, the potential penalty may increase. Some of the other violent sex crimes include sexual conduct with a minor, and child molestation,
- Under A.R.S. 13-1101, homicide includes four different crimes. They are negligent homicide, manslaughter, second degree murder and first degree murder. While all three have some shared characteristics, they are separate offenses. The distinction among the crimes may involve your state of mind (intentional, indifference to human life, reckless, premeditation, etc.), the circumstances surrounding the death (DUI, assisted suicide, heat of passion, felony murder, etc.), or the identity of the victim (law enforcement officer, for example). All homicide offenses are classified as felonies.
- Although robbery involves taking property from another person, it also includes the use of force or the threat of force. As a result, it is considered a violent crime, and not a property crime. Robbery is a class 4 felony. Aggravated robbery, where more than one person is involved in the commission of the crime, is a class 3 felony. Armed robbery is a class 2 felony.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive, and there are many other violent crimes under the Arizona Criminal Code.
Violent Crimes Defense Lawyers in Phoenix, AZ
If you were arrested for a violent crime, we can help. We know that many violent crimes overlap. You may have been charged with aggravated assault or unlawful imprisonment, when the proper charge should have been misdemeanor assault. We also understand that there are defenses that may be raised on your behalf, given the circumstances of your case. Witness misidentification, self-defense and other defenses can and do lead to dismissals and not guilty verdicts.
It is a mistake to try to deal with any criminal charge on your own, including an allegation that you have committed a violent crime. Let our experienced criminal lawyers provide you with an honest evaluation of where you stand.
Call us at (602) 560-3131 for a consultation