The FBI estimates there were around 803,000 aggravated assaults throughout 2016. This statistic doesn’t include the thousands of individuals charged with simple assaults.
Overall, the number of people who get arrested for fighting, threatening another person or causing bodily injury to another is overwhelming.
If you’ve been charged with assault, then you need to gain a basic understanding of what your charges are and the potential consequences attached to them.
Keep reading to learn more about assault, the possible consequences and the legal defense.
Understanding your Charge: Assault
Pennsylvania law recognizes two types of criminal assault: simple and aggravated. Simple assault cases often happen when two parties get into a physical confrontation. To be charged with simple assault, the suspect must have:
- Intentionally, recklessly or knowingly tried to harm another person
- Caused minor injuries or attempted to cause an injury
- Attempted to intimidate another person with threats of serious harm
Aggravated assault contains the above elements, but these charges may also involve:
- A weapon
- Severe and serious injuries
- Extreme carelessness or disregard for human life
- Threatening a police officer or other emergency officer
A prosecutor must prove all of these factors beyond a reasonable doubt to gain a conviction against a person accused of aggravated assault.
Consequences of an Assault Charge
In Pennsylvania, a simple assault charge is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. This charge may lead to:
- Fines up to $5,000
- Up to 2 years in jail
Aggravated assault, on the other hand, is a felony. If your assault was committed against someone of authority like an officer, then it’s likely you’ll be charged with a first-degree felony. This serious crime can result in:
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Maximum of 20 years in prison
- 20 years on probation
If your aggravated assault was committed against another citizen, then it will be lowered to a second-degree felony. You could still ultimately be sentenced to:
- Fines up to $25,000
- Up to 10 years in prison
Common Defenses Against Assault Charges
In some situations, becoming physical with another person is necessary. The legal defenses available for those charged with varying levels of assault include:
- Lack of intent to harm
- Defense of others
- Lack of knowledge
- No bodily injury actually occurred
- Non-voluntary intoxication
You may or may not be able to utilize these defenses depending on the circumstances surrounding your individual case. An experienced criminal defense attorney could help guide you on how you should fight your charges.
Contact an Experienced Lansdale Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Assault Charges in Pennsylvania
Were you arrested or charged with assault in Pennsylvania? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg, and Gifford have successfully represented clients charged with assault in Lansdale, Hatfield, Blue Bell, North Wales, Souderton, Telford, Newtown, Quakertown and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. Call 215-822-7575 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 2605 N. Broad St., Colmar, as well as an office located in Newtown.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.