Throwing a Drink at Someone Is an Assault

person holding a beer can - throwing a drink at someone is assault

Throwing a Drink at Someone Is an Assault

You might have heard about the arrest of a man who threw a can of White Claw at an unsuspecting politician. This incident left many wondering if throwing a drink was a crime, especially if it hits another person. The answer is yes. Throwing a drink is categorized as assault in many circumstances, and in some cases, it could even be a felony.

What Counts as Assault in Arizona? 

The Arizona penal code defines basic assault as the intentional or reckless injury of another person. The definition also includes knowingly touching another person with the intent of harming or injuring them. 

More extreme cases may be charged as aggravated assault, which uses the same definition as above but adds a few key details. You can be charged with aggravated assault if you caused severe injury, used a weapon or dangerous item (like a full White Claw), had the intent to disfigure, or restrained the victim before committing the assault. 

A basic assault charge may also be bumped up to aggravated assault if the victim was under the age of 15, a teacher, health care worker, or government official on duty, or there was an active restraining order against the assailant. 

Throwing a Drink Could Land You in Jail 

Because of the definitions of assault, throwing a can of liquid at someone will most likely be considered aggravated assault. However, if you miss, throw an empty can, or only get their shirt wet, it might only be considered basic assault. 

The punishments for assault range from misdemeanors to felonies, and often include time spent in prison or jail. Below is a list of the classes of assault charges, the common actions that could lead to an assault charge, and the penalties for each level of crime.

Basic Assault Charges and Penalties

Class 1 Misdemeanor

  • Reckless or intentional actions that led to injury
  • Up to 6 months in jail, $2,500 in reparations, and 3 years of probation

Class 2 Misdemeanor

  • Intentionally placing a person in a position to get hurt
  • Up to 4 months in jail, $750 in reparations, and 2 years of probation

Class 3 Misdemeanor 

  • Intentionally touching a person to cause harm 
  • Up to 1 month in jail, $500 in reparations, and 1 year of probation

Aggravated Assault Charges and Penalties

Class 2 Felony 

  • The victim is under 15 years years of age or a prosecutor 
  • 3 years to 35 years in prison, reparations and parole

Class 3 Felony 

  • Assault using a deadly weapon or causing serious injury 
  • 2 years to 25 years in prison, reparations and parole

Class 4 Felony 

  • The victim is disfigured or loses the use or entirety of a limb 
  • 1 year to 15 years in prison, reparations and parole

Class 5 Felony 

  • Taking a firearm from a police officer
  • 6 months to 7 years in prison, reparations and parole

Class 6 Felony 

  • Assaulting a teacher or healthcare worker while they are on duty, or assaulting someone under a protection order
  • 3 months to nearly 6 years in prison, reparations and parole

You Need a Lawyer If You Are Charged with Assault in Arizona

If you are facing an assault charge, you need a lawyer. Hiring an attorney who has experience with the Arizona justice system could help you get a lesser sentence or avoid a felony conviction altogether. Todd Coolidge has over 25 years of experience in criminal defense. Don’t let an assault charge ruin your life—contact us today for a consultation.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/21/23). Photo by Marty O’Neill on Unsplash.