In 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) estimates that 1,248,185 violent crimes were committed in the U.S., which represents a 4.1% increase from 2015. Moreover, in the same year, the Arizona Department of Public Safety reported that 27,704 violent crimes were committed in Arizona alone. Although the term “violent crimes” encompases multiple types of criminal offenses, these statistics demonstrate that every year millions of Americans are charged a violent crime.
In fact, it is estimated that a violent crime occurs every 13 minutes and 19 seconds in Arizona, but not everyone accused of committing a crime is guilty. Some people were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Others simply had a lapse in judgement, but given the harsh sentences imposed on violent criminals, you should always hire an aggressive criminal defense attorney to represent you if you have been charged with a violent crime.
What Offenses are Considered Violent Crimes?
Many criminal offenses are considered violent crimes, but when you think of the term violence, you generally associate it with physical contact with another person. However, the mere act of threatening an individual is considered criminal offense. Under A.R.S § 13-1203(A), assault is defined in multiple contexts.
What is Assault in Arizona?
In Arizona, assault has multiple meanings, and the circumstances surrounding how the crime occurred will determine the crime classification that the assault charge falls under and thus, the potential sentence that could be imposed. The crime classification and legal description of each form of assault is listed below:
- Class one misdemeanor assault: intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person
- Class two misdemeanor assault: intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury
- Class three misdemeanor assault: knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke such person
If you are convicted of misdemeanor assault, you can face jail time, fines, probation, or a combination of all three.
Aggravated Assault Laws in Arizona
In contrast, aggravated assault is a much more serious crime than its misdemeanor counterpart. Aggravated assault generally involves an “aggravating circumstance” that intensifies the heinousness of the crime. This could be the severity of the victim’s injuries, the type of victim, or the use of a deadly weapon to name a few. As with simple assault, these factors directly impact the criminal classification that the assault charge falls under and the potential sentence that could be imposed on the offender.
For example, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is charged as a class three dangerous felony offense and carries with it a presumptive prison sentence of 7½ years for first time felony offenders. Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a state prosecutor, however, is charged as a class two dangerous felony offense and carries with it a presumptive prison sentence of 10½ years. So, the potential sentence an offender could face for aggravated assault could vary significantly depending on the circumstances of the crime.
Homicide Laws in Arizona
Murder is considered to be one of the most serious criminal offenses. The FBI estimates that 17,250 murders occurred in the United States in 2016. This means that there were 5.3 murders per 100,000 people that year. Under Arizona law, there are different degrees of murder which are defined by the aggravating factors of the crime.
The most serious type of murder charge an individual could face is first degree murder which is charged as a class one felony and carries with it a possible death sentence or life in prison. Similar to other crimes, first degree murder can take many forms such as:
- Causing death to another individual with premeditation
- Causing death to another person during the commission of certain crimes
- Causing death to a police officer while in the line of duty with intent to kill or the knowledge that the offenders actions could result in the death of the police officer
Violent Crimes Attorney in Tucson Arizona
Being charged with a violent crime can change your life forever. The serious nature of these crimes and the harsh sentences that can be imposed due to a violent crime conviction demonstrate why you should always consult with a violent crimes attorney who will protect your rights. At the Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC, our law firm is comprised of violent crimes attorneys with extensive experience in violent criminal cases of all types. So don’t gamble with your future. Call our office today for a free consultation to find out how a criminal defense attorney can help you.