A charge of vehicular aggravated assault is a serious crime with severe penalty implications. As a more serious form of the charge of assault, you also face enhanced charges that can significantly affect your rights and freedoms.
If you or someone you love has been charged with vehicular aggravated assault, an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney can defend your case to protect your rights. Just because you are charged with the crime does not mean you are or will be found guilty of the crime.
What is Aggravated Assault in Arizona?
1. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person; or
2. Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury; or
3. Knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke such person.
Assault becomes aggravated assault, according to A.R.S. § 13-1204, when "a person commits ... assault as proscribed by section 13-1203" under certain circumstances. Three of those statutorily defined circumstances include:
1. If the person causes serious physical injury to another.
2. If the person uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
3. If the person commits the assault by any means of force that causes temporary but substantial disfigurement, temporary but substantial loss or impairment of any body organ or part or a fracture of any body part.
Vehicular Aggravated Assault: When a Motor Vehicle becomes a Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument
While any deadly weapon or dangerous instrument can cause a heightened charge of aggravated assault, a common situation is when a car or other motor vehicle causes serious injury. In Arizona, a motor vehicle is considered a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
DUI-Related Aggravated Assault
Many charges of vehicular aggravated assault result from a DUI-related accident that causes serious injury to another person. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is considered reckless conduct while driving, which satisfies the "reckless" element of the underlying assault charge. Because the assault was committed while in a vehicle, the charge can be enhanced to an aggravated assault.
Penalties for Vehicular Aggravated Assault in Arizona
In any aggravated assault committed with a dangerous weapon or dangerous instrument, a conviction for a first offense is a Class 3 "dangerous" felony with the following penalties:
- A minimum prison sentence of 5 years;
- A presumptive prison sentence of 7.5 years;
- A maximum prison sentence of 15 years; and/or
- A fine of up to $100,000.
If the victim is a police officer or a person under the age of 15, then the offense is a Class 2 felony and the following penalties apply:
- A minimum prison sentence of 7 years;
- A presumptive prison sentence of 10.5 years;
- A maximum prison sentence of 21 years; and/or
- A fine of up to $100,000.
Along with the penalties for aggravated assault, you may also face separate penalties for any other charges you face from the same incident, like a DUI charge and its applicable DUI penalties.
Consult a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for vehicular aggravated assault, you face serious penalties that may greatly affect your life. An experienced attorney at The Hamp Law Offices can represent you in your defense to protect your freedoms. We serve clients in Mohave, Yavapai, La Paz, and Coconino Counties, including the communities of Kingman, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, Parker, Prescott, Williams and Flagstaff, Arizona. Contact us today for a free consultation.