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Arizona Laws: Assault on a Minor under the age of 15

Aggravated assault is a grave criminal offense that encompasses various circumstances, and one of the most critical aspects is the age of the victim. In Arizona, committing an assault on a minor under the age of 15 carries severe penalties and may be considered a “Dangerous Crime Against a Child” (DCAC). Let’s explore the specific provisions related to aggravated assault on a minor under 15 in Arizona, the possible consequences, and the importance of seeking legal counsel.

The Most Commonly Charged Circumstances for Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault in Arizona can be charged under various circumstances, but when it involves a minor under 15, the consequences become significantly more severe. The most commonly charged circumstances for aggravated assault, in general, include:

  • Causing Serious Physical Injury or Substantial Disfigurement: When the defendant causes serious physical injury or substantial disfigurement to another person, it may lead to an aggravated assault charge.
  • Using a Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument: If a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, such as a car, is used intentionally to place someone in imminent fear of serious physical injury, it can result in aggravated assault charges.
  • Assault on Specific Individuals: Aggravated assault is typically charged when an assault is committed on specific individuals, such as police officers, teachers, prosecutors, health care providers, or prison guards. Due to their status as public servants, any assault on them may automatically be charged as a felony.
  • Misdemeanor Assault on a Child under 15: A person aged eighteen (18) or older can commit aggravated assault if they engage in a misdemeanor assault on a child who is fifteen (15) years of age or younger.

Possible Punishments for Aggravated Assault

The penalties for aggravated assault in Arizona can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the offense, and they can be quite severe. Here are some possible sentences and charges that a defendant might face:

  • Use of Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument: If a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument is involved in the offense, a first-time class three (3) “dangerous” felony can result in a mandatory minimum sentence of five (5) years, a presumptive sentence of seven and one-half (7.5) years, and a maximum sentence of fifteen (15) years of incarceration. These sentences increase with historical prior dangerous felony convictions.
  • Serious Physical Injury or Substantial Disfigurement (Without a Weapon): If the assault causes serious physical injury or substantial disfigurement without using a weapon, a class three (3) “non-dangerous” felony can lead to probation with zero (0) days in jail up to one (1) year in jail, or prison time ranging from two (2) years to eight and three-quarters (8.75) years.
  • Temporary but Substantial Disfigurement or Fracture (Without a Weapon): Assault resulting in temporary but substantial disfigurement or a fracture of any body part falls under a class four (4) “non-dangerous” felony, with potential sentences ranging from probation to one (1) year in jail or one (1) year to three and three-quarters (3.75) years in prison.

Assault on a Minor under 15 Years of Age: 

  • Aggravated assault on a child under 15 years old is a class six felony. It carries a term of four months up to two years in prison, and is also eligible for probation if the person has no prior convictions. A dangerous crime against children is in the first degree if it is a completed offense and is in the second degree if it is a preparatory offense, except attempted first degree murder is a dangerous crime against children in the first degree. If a child under 15 years old is seriously injured or disfigured from the assault, or a weapon was used, that is a first degree Dangerous Crime Against a Child (DCAC). The punishment is much more severe, with minimum prison sentences ranging from 10 years to 24 years, depending on prior convictions.

It’s crucial to note that the Aggravated Assault statute in Arizona is complex and the potential sentences vary widely based on the specific charges and circumstances. Therefore, consulting with an attorney like those at the Litwak Law Group is imperative to fully understand the potential consequences of an aggravated assault conviction.

Seek Legal Counsel for Assault Charges against a Minor

Facing aggravated assault charges, especially when involving a minor under 15, is a serious matter that requires expert legal representation. The consequences of a conviction can be life-altering. An experienced criminal defense attorney can assess your case, provide guidance on the best course of action, and work to build a strong defense on your behalf. Understanding the intricacies of Arizona’s aggravated assault laws is essential to navigate the legal system effectively and strive for the best possible outcome.