Just what does it mean to be charged with aggravated assault in Arizona? Simple assault doesn’t sound so bad, but when it’s aggravated . . . well, it seems a lot worse. And it is.
Simple assault in Arizona is a misdemeanor. It consists of causing physical injury to someone, either intentionally, knowingly or recklessly; intentionally causing a person to fear imminent personal injury; or knowingly making contact with another person, intending to injure, provoke or insult him or her. While some assault charges carry the possibility of as much as six months in jail, the maximum sentence for provocation assault, a class 3 misdemeanor, is only 30 days.
Aggravated assault, on the other hand, is a felony. There are numerous variations, including assault causing serious physical injury, assault with a deadly weapon, assault causing disfigurement, assault on a peace officer, and others. Assault with a deadly weapon, for example, is a class 3 felony, and it carries a presumptive sentence of three and a half years in prison for a first offender. Quite a difference from simple assault.
“Hate Speech” Preacher and the Degrees of Assault
Dean Saxton, who calls himself Brother Dean, and whom others call the “hate preacher,” has a history with assault, both giving and taking, and his experience may lend some guidance on subject.
Saxton was in the process of denouncing homosexuality, telling women they deserved to be raped, and espousing similar concepts on the campus of the University of Arizona this month, when he was approached by a woman. Reports say that Saxton hauled off and kicked her in the chest. One of the police officers on the scene said the kick was hard enough to make shoe marks on the woman’s body. Saxton was arrested, handcuffed, and charged with assault. While many people may have been “aggravated” by the attack on the woman, the charge was simple assault.
On the other hand, back in May, when Saxton was promoting his brand of religion outside Apollo High School in Glendale, AZ, the situation was reversed. On that occasion a woman, apparently in disagreement with Saxton’s position, whacked him in the head with a baseball bat. Although Saxton appears not to have been seriously injured, the charge was aggravated assault (the bat was considered a deadly weapon).
So there you have it. A current events example of the difference between simple assault vs. aggravated assault!
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