Difference Between Threats & Assault

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Every state adheres to its own criminal code, so while many states’ penal laws are similar, there can be significant differences. One common difference from state to state is how assault is defined, but today, you’ll find out how Arizona defines assaults and threats.

Is Threatening Someone a Crime?

Verbally threatening to cause harm to an individual can be charged as a crime, even if you had no intention of harming that person. In Arizona, you can be charged under the Threatening or Intimidating statute, which makes it illegal to threaten physical harm and even property damage. 

Arizona’s Definition of Threatening

Threatening or intimidating, in it’s simplest form, is a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona. The state defines threatening or intimidating as “threatening or intimidating by word or conduct to cause physical injury to another person or serious damage to their property, or to cause serious public inconvenience by instigating an evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or transportation facility.”

Therefore, threatening and intimidating has two main forms:

  • Threatening harm to someone; or
  • Threatening harm to a group of people, causing an inconvenience like an evacuation.

However, an assault is different from a threatening or intimidating charge, as an assault consists of physical contact.

Arizona’s Definition of Assault

An Arizona assault charge can be a class 1, 2, or 3 misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the case.

An assault charge is defined as the following:

  1. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person: class 1 misdemeanor;
  2. Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury: class 2 misdemeanor;
  3. Knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke such person: class 3 misdemeanor.

As you can see, an assault charge involves actually touching someone else in most scenarios. This is the major difference between threat and assault charges.

Accused of Committing Assault or Threatening?

If you or a loved one is accused of committing an assault or threat, Suzuki Law Offices can defend your case. Our experienced violent crime attorneys can fight for your rights before, during, and after a criminal trial.

Call (602) 842-6762 now for a free consultation for your case.

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