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An overview of Arizona’s assault laws

The crime of assault is defined under chapter 12 of Arizona’s criminal code. These statutes outline three situations in which an assault charge may arise. The classification of an assault conviction may depend on the criminal intent behind the act.

The first situation involves the defendant causing another person to suffer a physical injury. Pure accidents do not satisfy this statute, as the injury must be committed intentionally, knowingly or recklessly. If such an assault is performed intentionally or knowingly, it will be considered a class 1 misdemeanor. Class 1 misdemeanor assaults are the most serious category of the offense. If the crime is done with reckless intent, it will be a class 2 misdemeanor.

The second situation requires the defendant to have placed someone in the way of physical injury. The defendant must have performed this act intentionally. This type of assault is classified as a class 2 misdemeanor.

The third situation involves a defendant performing an intentional act that is meant to insult, provoke or injure another person. Assault committed under this section of the statute will be considered a class 3 misdemeanor.

It is important to note that assault may result in civil litigation as well as criminal charges. As the Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute explains, a civil lawsuit will involve a different level of proof than a criminal case. As such, it is possible for an alleged assault incident to fail to produce a criminal conviction, but still result still require the payment of civil damages.  

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