When you’re charged with a violent crime you may be facing one of the most serious crimes under Arizona law. Violent crimes range from simple assault, threats, and similar conduct, to kidnapping, homicide, domestic violence and more. At Feldman & Royle, we understand that prosecutors often charge defendants accused of violent crimes with a more serious crime than is appropriate under the circumstances. Our attorneys, who include a former prosecutor, know how to deal with these situations.
Types of Violent Crimes
There is no precise definition of the term “violent crimes,” other than to say that it includes any situation in which violence or the threat of violence is present. We defend clients charged with a variety of violent offenses, but the most common types of violent crimes include:
- Simple Assault. Simple assault under A.R.S. § 13-1203 is probably the most commonly charged violent offense. And while it is classified as a violent crime, it is not necessary that you harm, or even touch, the other person in order to be accused of assault. It includes not only physically injuring another person, but also placing another person in reasonable fear of imminent injury. Simple assault is a misdemeanor. Read more
- Aggravated Assault. Aggravated assault is a felony and one of the more serious violent crimes. It consists of a simple assault, coupled with one of several additional elements aggravated the assault. Examples of additional elements that make a simple assault an aggravated assault, including causing serious injury, use of a weapon, causing disfigurement, violation of an order of protection, and others. Read more
- Reckless Endangerment. Endangerment also known as reckless endangerment is one of the few violent crime often associated with vehicular crimes or a crime involving child endangerment. Endangerment under A.R.S. § 13-1201, is a felony under Arizona law and often carries a mandatory prison sentence. Read more
- Disorderly Conduct. Often used as a catch all crime in Arizona, disorderly conduct covers a broad range of criminal behavior in which the accused disturbed the peace, used offensive language, makes unreasonable noise or recklessly displays a firearm. Disorderly conduct in generally a misdemeanor but can be a felony when a weapon is used. Disorderly conduct if often charged as a domestic violence offense.
- Child Abuse. A crime often involving domestic violence, the crime of child abuse is a felony and ranges from a less serious felony to one of the most serious violent crimes under Arizona law. Child abuse penalties are dependent on the injury and the age of the child.
- Unlawful Discharge. The crime of unlawful discharge involves the firing of gun within city limits. This crime often happens while people are cleaning guns or in the midst of an accident shooting. While this offense is often done by accident, it is a serious felony and carries a mandatory prison sentence if convicted.
- Felony Gun Possession. Felony gun possession or misconduct involving weapons involves a range of weapon possession prohibitions under Arizona law A.R.S. § 13-3102. Depending on the circumstances and the status of the person accused the offense can range from a serious felony to a low-level misdemeanor. Read more
- Harassment. Charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor the crime of harassment or aggravated harassment involves acts of following, communicating or acting in a harassing manner. Harassment and aggravated harassment are often violent crimes involving domestic violence under A.R.S. § 13-3601.
- Stalking. Stalking is classified as a violent crime because the conduct is usually aimed at causing the victim to fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family. Stalking can take various forms, including a course of conduct of following someone, making express or implied threats, unauthorized surveillance, and similar acts. Stalking is also a felony.
- Resisting Arrest. Resisting arrest involves a person preventing a law enforcement officer from effectuating an arrest. Resisting arrest is often accompanied by a charge of aggravated assault if the person assaults the officer in the midst of resisting. Some of the most common violent crimes and often one of the most over charged offense. Read more
- False Imprisonment. False imprisonment or unlawful imprisonment pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-1303 occurs when a person knowingly restrains another person. Unlawful imprisonment can be charged as both a felony or a misdemeanor depending on whether physical force was used.
- Kidnapping. When most people think of kidnapping they image a person who lures children into a car and while this would certainly be an example of kidnapping, in Arizona the crime is far more broad. Kidnapping simply requires that a person restrain a victim while engaging in various other criminal acts. Kidnapping is often charged in addition to other more serious sex crimes or with an allegation of domestic violence.
- Drive by Shooting. One of the most serious violent crimes, drive by shootings often involve charges for not only the person who shot but for anyone in the car. This crime carries mandatory prison sentence as well as motor vehicle consequences. Addition and even more serious charges are often associated with drive by shooting offenses depending on who or what was shot.
- Homicide. This category includes manslaughter, negligent homicide, as well as first degree and second degree murder. The classification is dependent in part on the alleged state of mind of the defendant. All homicide charges are felonies, but the potential penalties vary greatly from one charge to another. For example, the presumptive sentence in a negligent homicide case is two and a half years, while the penalty for first degree murder is death or life in prison. Read more
- Robbery. Although many people assume robbery is a property crime, it involves force or the threat of force in the course of taking property from another person. As such, it is a violent crime, and is classified generally as a class 4 felony. If the person committing the robbery is aided by another person, the offense is aggravated robbery, a class 3 felony. Finally, if the person or his accomplice is armed with a deadly weapon, it is armed robbery, a class 2 felony.
- Domestic Violence. Domestic violence is actually not a crime in Arizona but rather an allegation associated with an underlying crime. Examples of crimes associated with domestic violence include assault or any one of a number of acts committed against a spouse, former spouse, close blood relative, person with whom you are or were involved in a romantic or sexual relationship, and others. Read more
These and other violent crimes are treated harshly by the courts and under the statutes. But an experienced Phoenix criminal lawyer will spot all the possible defenses in your case, and may be able to have the charges downgraded, or have the case dismissed. Read more
Violent Crimes Lawyer
If you examine the various statutes covering violent crimes, it becomes apparent that there is a large amount of prosecutorial discretion in what charges will be brought in different situations. As experienced violent crimes lawyers, we know when our clients are being “over-charged,” and we know how to respond. We also know which defenses to raise, including self-defense and others, that may provide you with the ability to avoid a conviction. Finally, where a plea bargain is the best route, we can guide you through the process to ensure that you receive the best possible result under all the circumstances.
At Feldman & Royle, our clients come first. Call us today for a free consultation and find out what we can do for you.