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Arizona Assault and Battery Charges Explained

Recently I was having dinner with a friend who said, "I've always wondered, what exactly is assault and battery? I've always seen them together. What's the difference?"


I reached for a wine glass and smiled, saying, "If I threw this wine glass at you and you feared for your personal safety, I just committed assault."


"That makes sense," she said. "What about battery?"


"If I hit you with the wine glass," I paused, "that's battery."


However, in Arizona, Assault can come in many forms and Battery is considered "Aggravated Assault." If you've been charged with assault, it's extremely important to know where you stand.


Arizona divides assault charges into three categories, all of which are misdemeanors. A conviction for misdemeanor assault requires the prosecution prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused any physical injury to another person

  • Intentionally placed another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury

  • Knowingly touched another person with the intent to injure, insult, or provoke that person.

Charges increase to aggravated assault when the defendant commits an assault under any of the following circumstances:

  • Causes serious physical injury or substantial disfigurement to another person

  • Uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument to intentionally place somebody in imminent fear of serious physical injury. This is another difference between assault and battery. Simple assault does not include a weapon of any kind. Any object potentially classified as a weapon appearing during an altercation between you and another person, potentially escalates your charges to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

  • Commits an ordinary assault on a public servant, such as a police officer, teacher, prosecutor, hospital staff or prison guard.

What are your defenses to assault? Generally defenses include:

  • defense of self or others

  • defense of property

  • consent

  • lack of evidence

  • making a citizen’s arrest

If you've been charged, contact us for a free consultation.



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