In Arizona, the law defines assault as any action meant to cause another harm or causing a person to reasonably believe physical harm was imminent. While assault charges are bad enough on their own, someone in possession of a weapon can face more serious consequences for assault with a deadly weapon

When a weapon becomes involved, a conviction could lead to several years in jail, heavy fines and felony charges on a person’s record. Here are some pertinent details for the general public to understand about these charges.

1. Examples of assault with a deadly weapon

By law, a deadly weapon does not necessarily have to be a gun or a knife. It can include other objects, such as:

  • A car
  • A dog
  • An axe
  • A broken piece of glass

At the end of the day, anything that could cause someone substantial harm is a weapon. The prosecution will attempt to show the individual knowingly and willingly acted in a manner that suggested a high level of harm was probable. 

2. Common defenses

A common strategy to answer any assault charges is that the action was in self-defense. However, the legal team may also try to show the person was unable to actually carry out the threat. For example, a person may threaten someone with a knife only for everyone to later discover no such knife was readily present. The final common defense is a lack of intent. An example would be playing a game of darts at a bar. Someone inadvertently walks in the playing area, and a player accidentally hits him or her with the dart. 

3. Penalty enhancements

More substantial consequences are on the table if the intended victim of the assault falls into a protected category. For example, if a person threatens a police officer with a weapon, then more serious punishments are possible. Similar to the above point, the person needs to be aware the individual falls into a protected category for enhancements to be possible.