Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Arizona: What You Need to Know About ARS 13-1204

According to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) §13-1204, assault with a deadly weapon occurs when an individual commits an assault with a weapon that is deemed by the above listed statute as being a dangerous or deadly weapon — and in Arizona, the charge of assault with a deadly weapon is considered aggravated assault.

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On its own, assault that occurs without a deadly weapon as previously described will on its own be considered by the court to be a misdemeanor charge in the state of Arizona. On the other hand, when a deadly weapon is used in the commission of the assault, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes §13-1203 and §13-1204, the perpetrator must be proven to have used such a weapon to:

    • Recklessly, knowingly, and/or intentionally brought forth physical injury to the alleged victim or victims, or;
    • Purposefully put the alleged victim in a position of imminent physical injury, or the alleged perpetrator must knowingly touch the alleged victim with either the deadly weapon or with his or her hands with the proven intent to assault, injure, or even provoke the alleged victim

Assault with a deadly weapon

But What is Considered a Deadly Weapon in Arizona?

In the state of Arizona, according to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) §13-105, a deadly weapon is any kind of weapon that has been designed to unleash lethal force. Some, but not all of the items on the list of deadly weapons include things like knives, swords, baseball bats, and guns — even if they are unloaded — and in some cases, even if they are simulated.

Dangerous Instruments in the Commission of an Assault

There is another important type of object that could be used in the commission of an assault with a deadly weapon, and these are most often known by the courts and by the law as “dangerous instruments.” Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) §13-105, dangerous instruments could be literally just about anything, so long as it can be, or has been used to cause serious physical hard to an individual.

In many cases, these items are not even considered to be inherently dangerous, but based on the unique circumstances of an assault, they could be deemed by the court to fall into the same category as a deadly weapon, if, during the commission of the assault, the item(s) in question were able to cause serious physical injury or even death. In some cases, even items like shoes, kitchen utensils, household appliances, and other everyday objects could potentially fall under the category of dangerous instruments.

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There’s More to Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charges than Just the Use of a Deadly Weapon: ARS 13-105 Says State of Mind Matters, Too

In the state of Arizona, according to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) §13-105 assault with a deadly weapon can occur under three separate and distinct states of mind , and the difference between them can mean the difference in the kinds of charges you face and their severity.

These states of mind include, from most to least serious:

    • Reckless state of mind: In this scenario, the perpetrator behaves recklessly even when s/he is aware of the seriousness of the risks associated with using such a weapon. Furthermore, s/he continues to carry out the assault with the weapon despite knowing how extreme the physical damage and/or injury to the alleged victim could be and disregards these facts during the commission of the assault.In these instances, the courts will look at what is called a “gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe” in a situation of this nature, and if the alleged perpetrator is found by the court to have behaved in a manner that was in gross deviation, the deadly assault charge will likely be deemed as reckless.
    • Knowing state of mind: If the person charged with assault with a deadly weapon did so knowingly, according to Arizona law, this means s/he was aware of the dangers that were involved in having used a deadly weapon. The key difference between reckless and knowing assault with a deadly weapon is that “knowingly” does not require the knowledge of the unlawful nature of the act or omission s/he was involved in and is being charged with.
    • Intentional state of mind: When an individual intentionally engages in conduct that constitutes assault with a deadly weapon, and understands what it means to be involved in such conduct, it is considered knowing assault with a deadly weapon, and this means it is presumed that his or her understanding was to engage in said conduct regardless.

..assault with a deadly weapon can occur under three separate and distinct states of mind, and the difference between them can mean the difference in the kinds of charges you face and their severity.

Penalties in the State of Arizona for Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes §13-1204, 13-701, 13-704, and 13-801, the state of Arizona classifies assault with a deadly weapon a class 3 felony, and as such, carries with it some hefty penalties, including a minimum of five and a maximum of 15 years in prison , as well as fines up to as much as $150,000 or in some cases, both.

If the alleged victim of the assault with a deadly weapon was a police officer, a prosecutor, or a minor under the age of 15, assault with a deadly weapon becomes a class 2 felony, and sentencing increases to a minimum of 7 years and a maximum of 21 years in prison, potentially a fine of as much as $150,000, or in some cases, both will apply.

It’s also important to understand that both class 2 and class 3 felony assault with a deadly weapon charges can be increased based on extenuating aggravating factors, including the answers to these questions:

    • Was the alleged victim’s family also harmed as a result of the assault?
    • In what manner was the assault committed (i.e. knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally)?
    • Was the alleged victim disabled in any way?
    • Was the alleged victim elderly or some other kind of vulnerable adult?

Getting You The Legal Help Needed to Fight Assault with a Deadly Weapon Charges: Arizona Assault Attorneys on Your Side

By now, you understand that the charges you or your loved one could be up against are deemed quite serious by the state of Arizona court system, and as such, as you may have read above, the sentencing can be rather unforgiving.

It’s important that if you have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon in Phoenix or anywhere else in Maricopa County, you immediately seek the counsel of an attorney who has a great deal of experience with cases just like yours.

The Law Office of Daniel Hutto has just that kind of experience — and we will use it to aggressively represent you using the defense that makes the absolute most sense based on the circumstances of the crime, your prior history, and a number of other factors we can discuss with you during our completely free legal consultation. To get your no-cost consultation with one of our highly experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorneys today, dial 602.536.7878.

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