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Is it Illegal to Threaten Someone in Arizona?

You’ve heard about freedom of speech in America. After all, you learned all about the First Amendment in school. You were probably taught that under the First Amendment, you could say anything without any negative consequences because it was your constitutional right. While the First Amendment guarantees that people have the freedom of speech, there are limits to that freedom.

When people engage in certain types of speech, they are not protected under US law. Essentially, under the First Amendment, the American people can express ideas and information, but the following types of speech are not protected:

  1. Threats
  2. Libel and slander
  3. Child pornography
  4. Plagiarizing copyrighted material
  5. Speech that encourages others to commit crimes
  6. Speech that solicits others to commit crimes

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to address #1 above, threats, since some of our clients end up facing criminal charges after making threats.

Arizona’s Assault Statute

In Arizona, many cases involving threats are charged as assault, which may seem counterintuitive because most people think that assault must involve “physical contact,” but that is not the case.

Under Section 13-1203 of the Arizona Statutes, there are several ways to commit assault, including, “intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury.” An offender may do this by threating to harm a victim.

Generally, when someone is charged with assault because they threatened to hurt another person, they will face Class 2 misdemeanor charges, which are punishable by up to four months in jail and a fine not to exceed $750.

In more serious cases, an individual can be charged with threatening or intimidating under Section 13-202 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. An offense under this section can be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, a Class 6 or 3 felony depending on the facts of the case.

Next: What if I Fail to Appear For My Court Date in Arizona?

Facing with assault or threatening or intimidating in Arizona? Contact the Law Offices of Joshua S. Davidson, PLC today.