In a recent news article, Phoenix police are quoted as saying they are looking for a man who allegedly attempted to steal a cell phone from a Target store. They also claim that after the attempted theft, the suspect pulled out a knife and threatened an employee of the store. A video of a portion of the incident appears to show the suspect trying to open a locked display case containing the phones, which apparently triggered an alarm. He allegedly pulled out a large knife when leaving the store, although the nature of the supposed threat against the employee was not disclosed.
Threatening is an offense in Arizona that falls under the general heading of assault. It is defined in A.R.S. 13-1202. That section says, in part, that if you threaten, by words or by conduct, to cause physical injury to another person, you can be charged with threatening. It is generally a class 1 misdemeanor. If you think about it, though, threatening a person with a large knife, as related in the police report of the incident at Target, doesn’t sound like a simple misdemeanor charge. It sounds as if it might be a more serious offense. And it is.
Notwithstanding the language in the article we read, we think that if the suspect is caught, he’ll be looking at a charge of aggravated assault. While threatening sounds like it might apply in a case where someone brandishes a weapon, putting another person in fear of physical injury, the actual charge will likely be a felony. Aggravated assault consists, among other things, of:
- Assault. Placing a person in reasonable fear of physical injury, while
- Using a Deadly Weapon.
Use of a dangerous instrument or a deadly weapon, in this case a “large knife,” is one of the factors that can take a misdemeanor threatening charge (or, for that matter, misdemeanor assault), and turn it into aggravated assault. In this case, the offense charged would be a class 3 felony.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004