Crimes of violence are some of the types of crimes we handle at the Phoenix Criminal Attorney. Violence involves the use of force or threats to use force on another person. Such crimes may or may not include injuries to the victims. Crimes of violence are some of the most severe crimes in the state of Arizona because of the kind of harm the perpetrators cause their victims. The basis for the penalties an offender gets for a specific violent crime is on the seriousness of the injuries they have inflicted on the victim. Penalties, in this case, involves many years behind bars and hefty penalties.
We understand that some people are forced to act in violence in self-defense or defense of others. Others commit violent crimes out of compulsion. If, therefore, you or your loved one is facing charges for a violent crime, get in touch with us. With our experience, we might be able to compel the court to reduce or drop your charges.
Overview of Violent Crimes in Arizona
Violent crimes are criminal offenses that generally involve the use of force, threats to use force or cause injury to another person. These are the crimes whose seriousness is usually based on the degree of physical harm the other person has suffered. Many states in the United States impose severe penalties on any crime that causes another person to suffer serious physical injuries. Violent crimes may or may not involve the use of weapons.
Those offenses that involve the use of deadly weapons are considered more severe and hence, punished more. Some crimes are classified as violent crimes, even though the other person has not suffered physical harm. These are mainly crimes that involve the use of threats of injury, for instance, assault.
Violence is taken very seriously in the state of Arizona. It is one of those states that impose very harsh penalties on any person that is found guilty of a violent crime. In Arizona, all crimes of violence include lengthy prison sentences. There could be other additional penalties for those crimes that involve aggravating factors such as the use of deadly weapons. Note that severe penalties apply even for defendants who have no prior convictions in their criminal records. Other penalties include payment of restitution to the victim, anger management classes, the performance of community service, and probation, among others.
In addition to those penalties, the nature of the victim may change the seriousness of the charges. If, for instance, the victim was a police officer, a child, or a woman, the defendant is likely to face even heftier charges.
Investigations involving violent crimes in the state of Arizona can be in-depth and aggressive. The state has well-trained police who are great with investigations and making arrests on anyone that is under suspicion for committing a violent crime. They are the kind the police that will stop at nothing once they receive a report concerning an alleged commission of a crime of violence. Investigations start from the crime scene, where they collect all physical evidence as well as witness statements to ensure that they have a strong case against the accused during trial.
For that reason, it is essential to have the backing of an excellent criminal attorney. Arizona police will ask all manner of questions after arrest to get the truth from you. In the process, it is easy to make self-incriminating statements. Your attorney will be there to speak to the police on your behalf. He/she will advise you on what to say and not say to the police. Your attorney will also be in charge of gathering evidence to prove to the court that you are not guilty as charged. The most important thing when you are facing a criminal charge in Arizona is to ensure that your rights are protected.
Types of Violent Crimes in Arizona
‘Violent Crimes’ is a broad term that is used to refer to various kinds of criminal offenses committed against the person. It means that through the commission of these crimes, the physical body of another person was injured or under threat of injury. The state of Arizona has several laws in place that apply to different types of violent crimes. Some of the most common crimes of violence in the state include:
Threats and Intimidation
Arizona laws against threats and intimidation are under Section ARS § 130-1202 of Arizona Laws. Threatening or intimidating a person could happen by word or conduct. These two offenses may not sound severe enough to be categorized under violent crimes, but the fear that the other person suffers might be enough to cause the court to charge the offender with a felony offense. Most people who have faced a conviction for threats or intimidation in the state are those who have been found guilty of the crime without even making any physical contact with their victim.
A person can be guilty of threats and intimidation if they do the following by either word or actions:
- Intimidation or threat to cause another person physical harm or severe damage to another person’s property
- Intimidation or threats to cause or in reckless regard of causing a grave public inconvenience, which might include the evacuation of a transportation facility, a building or a place of assembly
- Threats or intimidation to cause another person's physical injuries or damage to their property as a way to induce, promote or solicit that person to take part in criminal activity such as a criminal syndicate, racketeering practice, or illegal street gang.
These are offenses that could lead to a class one misdemeanor conviction, a class six felony conviction, or a class three felony conviction if the offender is found guilty as charged. For a class one misdemeanor conviction, the offender could get a maximum of six months behind bars and a fine of not more than $2500. If the offender receives a class three felony conviction, their penalties might include a jail term of between 2½ and seven years and/or a fine of not more than $10,000.
Arizona laws against aggravated assault are provided under Section ARS § 13-1204 of Arizona laws. This is another severe form of the crime of violence in the state that carries very severe repercussions. A person found guilty of aggravated assault in the state is likely to receive a felony conviction, which attracts severe penalties that may include lengthy prison terms, hefty fines, a life-altering criminal record, payment of restitution to the alleged victim and negative impact on a person’s social and professional life. A person convicted of aggravated assault in the state is also not allowed to own a firearm.
However, you can only be found guilty of an aggravated offense if on top of assaulting a person you did the following:
- Caused the person severe physical injuries
- If you committed an assault that left the other person with severe but temporary disfigurement, impairment or loss of a body part
- If you committed an assault on a person that was either bound or restrained
- If the commission of assault was in the other person's home
- If you were an adult over 18 years of age at the time of the commission of the offense and you committed an assault on a minor below the age of 15
- You committed the assault as a violation of a protective order
In addition to that, a person can also be found guilty of committing aggravated assault if they commit assault while interfering with the normal breathing or blood circulation of another person, for instance, through strangulation.
Aggravated assault is in itself a severe offense that could result in Class two, three, four, five, or six felony convictions. Note that aggravated assault starts with simple assault, which happens when a person does the following:
- Intentionally, recklessly and knowingly causes an injury to another person
- Intentionally causes another person reasonable fear of harm
- Deliberately touches another person to injure, insult or provoke that person
The penalties for aggravated assault in Arizona are as follows:
- If the offender gets a Class 6 felony for aggravated offense, their penalties could range between 18 months and three years
- For Class 5 felony conviction, the offender will get between two and four years of imprisonment
- For Class 4 felony conviction, the offender will get a prison term of between four and eight years
- For Class three felony conviction, the offender could get up to 15 years of imprisonment
- For Class two felony conviction, the prison term could range anywhere between seven and twenty-one years
In addition to these sentences, offenders could be required to pay a maximum fine of $150,000.
The judge has complete discretion on the prison sentences he/she can give a particular offense. His/her decision is based on the following:
- Whether or not a dangerous weapon was used in the commission of the offense
- Whether or not the alleged offender has any prior convictions
- Whether or not the aggravated assault involved a minor below the age of 18
- Whether or not the crime resulted in serious physical injuries or death of another person
- Whether or not the attack was mitigated
- Whether or not the victim of the assault was pregnant at the time of the assault
Arizona laws against kidnapping are provided under Section ARS § 13-1304 of the state’s revised laws. The state judicial system views kidnapping as a grave offense, especially if it involves a minor. In such a severe crime as this, the prosecutor may be compelled to give the offender the maximum penalties provided by the law for that offense.
According to Arizona laws, kidnapping is defined as holding another person against their will, for the following reasons:
- To receive a ransom for the release of the person
- To take control of the person’s vehicle
- To use the person as a shield or hostage
- To commit a sexual offense against the person
- To cause the person an injury or death
- To have the person help with the commission of an offense
For a person to be found guilty of kidnapping in the state of Arizona, the prosecutor will be required to prove to the court that the defendant intentionally restrained another person against that person's will, or put that person in imminent physical danger.
Kidnapping in the state is classified under Class 2, 3, or 4 felony offenses. To be charged with a 4th degree of abduction, the defendant will be required by the court to voluntarily release their victim to a safe place, without causing them any sexual acts, physical harm, making ransom demands or committing other related offenses.
For the court to charge the defendant with the Class 3 felony, they must not have inflicted any physical harm on their victim. They must also have negotiated the terms for the victim's release with the police before allowing the victim to go.
A person will only be convicted with Class 2 felony if they did not voluntarily release their victim, caused the victim injuries, committed sexual assault on the victim or used the victim for the commission of a crime among other criminal acts provided under Section § 13-1304 of the state’s Revised Statutes. Again, if the victim of kidnapping was a minor below 15 years of age, the defendant will automatically face a Class 2 felony conviction, which is punishable with a life prison sentence.
The laws against domestic violence in the state of Arizona are under Section § 13-3601 of the state’s Revised Statutes. According to this law, domestic violence occurs when a person commits a dangerous offense against a minor or spouse or even a family member. This crime is said to happen if:
- The offender and the supposed victim are married, have been formerly married or they live in one household
- The defendant and the supposed victim are parents to the same child/children
- The defendant or the alleged victim is expecting a child by the other person
- The defendant and the victim are related through marriage, by blood or by court directive as a grandparent, parent, child, grandchild, sister, brother, or in-law.
- The victim of domestic violence is a minor who lives in the same home as the defendant and is related to the defendant’s former spouse by blood. the child could also be related by blood to a person who lives or has lived in the same home as the victim and defendant
- Both the defendant and the supposed victim were previously in a sexual or romantic relationship
Domestic violence in the state of Arizona can involve just one or more of the following offenses:
- Child or adult abuse
- Aggravated assault
- Custodial interference
- Dangerous offenses against children
- Sexual assault
For a person to be found guilty of domestic violence, there must be proof for the following elements of the offense before the court:
- that the defendant recklessly, intentionally and knowingly causes physical injuries on their spouse or a family member
- That the defendant intentionally put their family member or spouse in reasonable fear of imminent physical harm
- That the offender touched their spouse or member of their family with the intent to insult, provoke or cause them injuries
If found guilty of the offense, the defendant could get a Class one, two or three misdemeanor conviction
Aggravated domestic violence is a more serious form of domestic violence that involves serious physical injuries, the use of a deadly weapon or violence on a minor under the age of 15. If a person is found guilty of this offense, they can get a Class two, three, four, five, or six felony convictions, depending on the seriousness of the offense.
Possible Legal Defenses for Arizona Violent Crimes
Violent crimes are quite severe in the state of Arizona, which means that penalties for any violent offense could be severe. The good thing is that the law allows anyone that is facing charges for violent crimes in the state to enjoy legal representation. If you are lucky enough to find an excellent criminal defense attorney, you may have your charges reduced or dropped by the court. Again, Chapter 4 of the state’s Revised Statutes provides many legal defenses to crimes of violence. It means that your attorney has options in the kind of argument he/she can use to compel the court to rule in your favor. Some of these defenses are:
That you acted in self-defense or defense of another person
As mentioned above, it is reasonable to see a person acting in violence because they have a strong reason to believe that their life or physical well-being is under threat. If the alleged victim threatened the defendant first, the court might justify the defendant for having used more force in their defense. Similarly, a person can apply more force in defense of another person. Your attorney will, however, be required to demonstrate to the court how your life or the life of another person was in imminent danger.
That you were under duress
Again, a person can act with violence out of compulsion from a more prominent or more significant person. If you can convict the court that another person forced or threatened you to engage in violent conduct, the court could reduce your charges.
Lack of mental state
All crimes of violence require a person to have acted recklessly, knowingly, and intentionally. A person who does not have the necessary mental state is incapable of doing something deliberately or consciously. If your attorney convinces the court of your mental state, you will be able to avoid a criminal conviction.
Find a Phoenix Criminal Attorney Near Me
If you are facing serious charges for a crime of violence in the state of Arizona, it is advisable to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Phoenix Criminal Attorney, we have excellent skills and experience in handling all manner of violent crimes. We will take the time to understand your case to develop a good defense. Call us at 602-551-8092 if you are in Phoenix, AZ, and let us help protect your rights throughout the legal process.