Arizona Aggravated Assault cases come in many different forms:
(1) A person driving a vehicle, while impaired, injures another person;
(2) A person who points a gun at another person and threatens them; or
(3) A bar fight where one of the people suffers a “Serious Injury.”
Moreover, if a “dangerous instrument” is used or a “Serious Injury” occurs, then the government will make an allegation that the Aggravated Assault is a “dangerous” offense. The dangerous allegation is the scariest aspect of an Aggravated Assault charge. A “dangerousness” allegation causes a mandatory prison sentence if convicted. Furthermore, the sentencing range is enhanced for a “dangerous” offense.
Typically, an aggravated assault charge is a class three felony. For first time offenders probation is available. However, if the government alleges and can prove a “dangerousness” allegation, then probation is not available and the presumptive term in prison is seven (7) years. The minimum sentence the judge can give is 5 years. Thus, if the best person in the world gets convicted of Aggravated Assault, and it is a dangerous offense, then the shortest sentence the judge can give is five (5) years.
So, your a first time offender, and you have been charged with Aggravated Assault, what needs to be done immediately? You need to do your own independent investigation. You cannot take what is in the police report as the gospel. Frequently, law enforcement will get only a piece of the entire picture. The reality of closing the investigation due to time constraints can get in the way of the truth. Many times it is necessary to have a professional investigator do a proper investigation and case analysis. Finding new facts is usually the best way to get the desired result. In addition, time can be of the essence. Things like video tapes, fingerprints, and memories can get lost and contaminated as time goes by. In addition, you should get all the available information on the victim and their alleged injuries. This process can be difficult because of Arizona’s victim’s rights laws. There are limitations on contact with alleged victims. Understanding when and if a potential victim may be contacted often requires a legal determination.
In sum, immediately doing a proper investigation may be the difference between criminal charges being filed, dismissed or reduced.
If you need legal advice for a specific problem, you must consult with an Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney. For more information about Arizona Criminal Law or a specific legal problem, please contact the Koplow Law Firm online or by phone at (602) 494-3444.
The Arizona Supreme Court issued two decisions this week providing guidance as to scope of