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Dec 28, 2022

Can Assault Charges Be Dropped in Arizona?

When it comes to Arizona criminal cases, there are several possible outcomes. The defendant may.

Can Assault Charges Be Dropped in Arizona?

When it comes to Arizona criminal cases, there are several possible outcomes. The defendant may be convicted of the crime, they may plead guilty to the crime, they may accept a negotiated plea, they can be found innocent, the charges might be dropped, or they might be dismissed. In fact, these are all different outcomes, even though they may sound the same. Below, we will discuss how these outcomes apply to assault charges in Arizona. 

Possible Outcomes for a Criminal Case

There are only a handful of ways to resolve any criminal case. 

  • Conviction – A conviction means that charges were filed against you, you pleaded innocent to the charges, and you were found guilty by a jury. 
  • Plea of guilty – A defendant may opt to plead guilty to charges in exchange for a reduced sentence or special consideration by the court. Cooperation with law enforcement is almost always considered a mitigating factor in favor of the defendant. Those who are convicted tend to face the most severe sentences.
  • Finding of innocence – If the prosecution decides to take the case before a jury, and the jury returns a verdict of “not guilty,” then the charges against the defendant are dismissed, and the case is resolved with prejudice, meaning it cannot be retried. 
  • Charges are dropped – If the charges are dropped, that’s because the prosecutor, the police, and the victim have elected not to pursue the matter. It may mean that formal charges were filed against you, but the prosecution decided to derail to process for lack of evidence or whatever else. The decision to drop charges is made by law enforcement or the district attorney. The decision to dismiss charges is made by a judge.
  • Charges are dismissed – In some cases, the court will prevent prosecutors and police from pursuing a matter either because they failed to collect evidence properly, broke the law, or otherwise lack the evidence to win at trial. Only a judge can dismiss charges against a defendant.
  • Negotiated plea – Somewhere between a conviction and walking away free is a negotiated plea. Defendants can save the prosecutors time and money by simply pleading guilty to certain charges in exchange for a reduced sentence, pleading guilty to lesser charges, or other favors negotiated with law enforcement. 

What is the Best-Case Scenario for a Criminal Attorney?

While it is certainly exciting to watch passionate actors play attorneys on television, taking a case to trial is rarely in the best interests of a client. It costs a lot of money to go to trial, so while it is superior to spending time in prison, a finding of innocence is not the best-case scenario for any client.

The best-case scenario is getting the charges dismissed. Often, this happens when the prosecutors do not believe strongly enough in the evidence presented against a defendant. 

Assault Charges and Domestic Violence in Arizona

It is possible to have assault and domestic violence charges dropped in Arizona. It may be difficult and will depend heavily on the circumstances surrounding the altercation, but the court is under no obligation to pursue charges simply because of a complaint. 

In most cases, domestic violence and assault charges are dropped because the victim does not want to pursue the matter through the courts. In other cases, a lack of evidence may cause prosecutors to drop charges. In these cases, prosecutors will discuss the matter with the victim before dropping the charges. 

Self-Defense and Domestic Violence Charges

It can be difficult to claim self-defense in a domestic violence situation. However, Arizona is a stand-your-ground state, and individuals may use lethal force to defend themselves, even from their spouses. Today, stand-your-ground defenses have been used to defend abused spouses accused of murder. 

Assault Charges and Mental Health Diversion

In some cases, violent conduct is the manifestation of an untreated psychiatric condition. In these cases, it is presumed until otherwise proven that the defendant may be able to control the urges that give rise to violence with the proper treatment and medication. Their cases are diverted to the mental health court, where they are placed on a contract, required to meet treatment goals, and stay out of trouble. If they meet their obligations, the charges may be dismissed. If they do not, then the criminal case against them will proceed.

Talk to a Tempe, AZ Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing charges related to aggravated assault, assault, or domestic violence, call the Tempe, AZ, criminal defense attorneys at Singular Law Group today, and we can begin discussing your defense immediately. 

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