Feelings of anger and revenge are a normal part of being human, but when you act upon those emotions, it may lead to breaking the law. One way is through assault, which is attempting or threatening to injure another person.

You may not understand why you face criminal charges when you did not actually hurt somebody. Understanding the different classifications of assault is the first step in building a defense.

1. Causing physical injury

The most severe form of assault is injuring someone in a way that was intentional, reckless or known to cause harm. Assault of this nature is a class 1 misdemeanor, which is the highest class. Penalties in Arizona include up to a $2,500 fine and six months in jail. If this is your first offense, you likely will not receive the harshest punishment.

2. Putting someone in harm’s way

Maybe you did not hurt the person directly but put him or her in fear of being in danger. This is a class 2 misdemeanor, and the penalties are a maximum of $750 in fines and four months in jail.

3. Touching with the intent to injure

Again, maybe the other person did not suffer any injury, but if you even so much as touch someone with the purpose to injure, insult or provoke, then your actions still count as assault. However, it is only a class 3 misdemeanor, the lowest category, and comes with no more than $500 fines and 30 days in jail. As a repeat offender, you may face the next level of penalties even if the crime falls under a lower class.

Aggravated assault

Most of the time, assault is a misdemeanor charge. However, assault enters the felony territory under the following circumstances:

  • Hurting a minor
  • Using a deadly weapon
  • Restraining the other person
  • Violating a protection order
  • Causing severe injury or temporary disfigurement, impairment or fracture
  • Harming law enforcement and other public servants

Convictions of aggravated assault result in mandatory prison time.