Assault Against a Police Officer in Arizona

With recent news in the late spring and early summer of 2020, it’s not unexpected that people are asking what happens when they fight back against an Arizona police officer. Arizona, unlike many other states, takes violent crime against a police officer extremely seriously. Often these charges are pursued aggressively in prosecutors will likely push for maximum sentencing.

The likelihood of a very aggressive case against you, including these charges, makes it even more important to understand exactly what happened and what could lay ahead.

Penalties for Assaulting an Officer

It is highly likely that you’ll be facing serious felony charges. But the degree of the felony will depend on exactly what happened during the alleged assault or confrontation. For example, if the assault resulted in a physical injury done to the officer, then it’s likely you’ll be up against a class 4 felony, which could result in two and a half years in prison.

Whereas if the officer sustained any fracture or disfigurement temporary or otherwise, it’s likely you’ll be facing a class 3 felony but the possibility of three and a half years in prison.

There are elements such as whether the officer claims a weapon was involved or the degree of severity of the injuries sustained. Additionally, with police officer assault charges, because of the degree of aggressiveness they act on these, they will likely stack charges against you. What that means is they may add a resisting arrest and noncompliance, and any other felony or misdemeanor charge they can think of that would apply to the situation.

What is an Aggravated Assault?

It may seem like an outright assault charge, but it is more reasonable to expect to face an aggravated assault charge. Assault happens on one degree when a person faces allegations of intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing harm or creating the opportunity for the person to experience harm.

However, aggravated assault applies any assault, which also includes a weapon, a dangerous instrument, actual physical injury, means of force, and a wide variety of other elements of a possible crime.

Possible Defenses and Exposing False Accusations

One of the more common defenses against assault charges is that the assault simply didn’t happen. False allegations are becoming more common; however, when police officers are claiming to be the victim, it’s far less likely that a false allegation defense would be successful.

When it comes to assault on police officers in Arizona, possible defenses can include self-defense, the false allegation defense, and violation of constitutional rights.

Self-defense is a possible approach when the officer was the one who initiated the attack. You may need to show that prior to the attack, you were compliant and non-confrontational.

There is some confusion with the final defense possibility in that a violation of your constitutional rights does not justify the assault. However, it could stand if, for example, the officers failed to read your Miranda rights during the arrest. Officers failing to read Miranda rights or inappropriately handling their constitutional rights after an arrest can completely pull apart the charges.