When someone in Arizona is hurt by another, the person who causes the injury may or may not be guilty of assault. The key to the description of assault in the Arizona State Legislature is that any harm or threat of harm is done on purpose, or else it is caused by an action that is careless and dangerous. The charge is increased to aggravated assault when there is any one of many additional circumstances involved in the action.
The level of harm that is caused by the assault is one factor. For example, if it leads to a bone fracture, a disfigurement, the impairment of a body organ or another serious injury, the Arizona State Legislature states that it could be aggravated assault. This may be true if a person enters a home intending to harm someone, or hurts a person who is unable to resist, as well. An adult who attacks a child under the age of 15 or violates a protective order is also guilty of aggravated assault.
Who is being harmed also makes a difference. When certain people are on the job, attacking them becomes aggravated assault if a person knows or should know their role or job title. These include the following:
- Teachers and other school employees
- Health care providers, paramedics and emergency medical technicians
- Law enforcement officials
- Prosecutors, public defenders and judges
- Park rangers
The acts of strangling and smothering are both aggravated assault, as are causing harm with an object that is dangerous and using a deadly weapon. However, if a person with a severe mental illness or some form of dementia attacks a health care provider, the law does not consider the act an aggravated assault.