Montgomery County Assault Lawyers
When facing assault charges, you may stress about how it could potentially affect your career and future. You may be overwhelmed in figuring out the following steps to take. If you face any assault charge, it is imperative that you contact a seasoned, knowledgeable attorney who will defend you and fight tirelessly to reduce your charges or get them dropped in the best-case scenario.
Our Montgomery County assault attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. are well-versed in the state laws regarding assault and have the knowledge to defend your case effectively. Our lawyers are former prosecutors with a detailed knowledge of how best to try a case and protect your rights.
Understanding Assault Laws in the State of Pennsylvania
There are two specific types of assault charges in Pennsylvania: simple and aggravated. We have broken down everything you need to know about both below:
To be convicted of simple assault, a prosecutor must prove that an individual acted recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally and:
- Put another person in fear of imminent bodily injury
- Attempted to inflict bodily harm on another person
- Inflicted bodily injury on another person
For an act to be considered intentional, it must be proven that the defendant had the specific resolve to commit the illegal and harmful act. The assault must also have been knowingly committed, which means that the accused was aware of the nature of their actions and the possible consequences of those actions.
Charges for simple assault are treated as second-degree misdemeanors unless certain conditions apply. For instance, if the assault occurred during a fight entered by mutual consent, the offense may be downgraded to a third-degree misdemeanor. However, suppose an adult over 19 assaulted a child under 12. In that case, the crime is upgraded to a first-degree misdemeanor and is subject to more severe penalties.
No matter what assault charge you face, it is vital to speak with a Pennsylvania assault lawyer because they may be able to mitigate the charges on your behalf.
Sometimes, a simple assault charge may be raised to aggravated assault. Some call this “felony assault” because authorities can charge this offense as a second-degree or first-degree felony, depending on the circumstances. The following factors differentiate aggravated assault from simple assault:
- The defendant acted in a manner that demonstrated extreme indifference to the value of human life.
- The assault was made against a law enforcement official, correctional officer, emergency medical personnel, or another authoritative figure.
- The assault was made against a teacher or school staff member acting in the course of employment.
- A deadly weapon was used (or attempted to be used) intentionally or recklessly.
- Tear gas or noxious gas was used during the act of assault.
- An adult intentionally or recklessly caused (or attempted to cause) bodily harm to a child under 13.
For a person to be convicted of aggravated assault, the prosecutor must convince the jury of two specific elements. The first is that the defendant was knowledgeable about the danger of their actions. Sometimes referred to as “willful intent,” this means that the suspect must have acted knowingly and was aware of the possible consequences of their actions. In addition, the prosecution must prove that the individual acted recklessly, meaning they were unaware of the risks associated with the conduct.
What Are Pennsylvania’s Sexual Assault Categorizations and Penalties?
Sexual assault charges are usually considered felonies in Pennsylvania, although some rare instances are considered misdemeanors. However, even a misdemeanor sexual assault conviction can lead to harsh penalties. To determine the severity of the crime, the prosecution will usually consider the victim’s age and the particular circumstances of the case.
There are various types of sexual assault crimes in Pennsylvania, including:
- Rape: The crime of forcing another person into sexual intercourse without their consent is considered rape, a first-degree felony in Pennsylvania, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
- Aggravated rape: A rape charge is elevated to aggravated rape if the crime included the use of a dangerous weapon or assault and battery. Aggravated rape convictions come with harsher penalties and may result in up to 40 years behind bars.
- Indecent sexual assault: This charge involves any instance of forcing another person to come into contact with bodily fluids or excrement for sexual arousal or otherwise making sexual contact with another person without their consent. Those charged may receive up to five years in prison.
- Rape of a child: Even if there was “consent,” engaging in sexual intercourse or another sexual act with a minor under 16 can result in a rape of a child or statutory sexual assault charge. A conviction of these charges can result in up to 40 years in prison.
- Rape of a child with serious bodily injury: This charge, also referred to as involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, is any unwelcome sexual activity performed on a person younger than 13 years of age who suffers bodily injury from unwanted contact. This crime can result in lifetime imprisonment.
Our proficient legal team may be able to enthusiastically represent, negotiate, and work tirelessly to defend your sexual assault allegations without judgment. We always focus on protecting your constitutional rights, including your right to a fair trial.
What Is Considered “Serious Bodily Injury” in Pennsylvania?
When it comes to assault cases, the presence of serious bodily injury can have a significant impact on your case. 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses § 2602 defines serious bodily injury as an injury to the body that increases the risk of death, causes permanent disfigurement, or impairs the functionality of a body part. These injuries have a long-lasting impact and may include the following:
- Loss of limbs
- Severely broken bones
- Severe disfigurement
- Spinal injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Severe burns
Serious bodily injury can be considered an aggravating factor in assault cases. In some situations, someone having a serious bodily injury can change the status of your charge from a misdemeanor to a felony. This depends on the type of injury and how the person sustained those injuries. If you have been accused of assault, we are prepared to listen to your story and document details about the situation to cast doubt on the accusations and get your charges reduced. In the best-case scenario, we may be able to get them dropped.
Possible Penalties for a Conviction of Assault in Pennsylvania
An assault conviction carries serious consequences. Even conviction of the lowest-level assault crime can result in prison time, hefty fines, and a permanently blemished reputation. This is why it is so critical to contact an experienced assault defense lawyer after an arrest immediately. At Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, we represent Pennsylvanians who have been charged with assault crimes including, but not limited to:
- Domestic violence
- Simple assault
- Aggravated assault
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Sexual assault
- Vehicular assault
- Assault of a minor
- Assault of a law officer
The maximum penalties for these assault charges in Pennsylvania are as follows:
- Third-degree misdemeanor assault: one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
- Second-degree misdemeanor assault: two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
- First-degree misdemeanor assault: five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Depending on the crime, other punishments for an assault conviction in Pennsylvania can include:
- Restitution payment to the victim(s)
- Life-long status as a convicted felon
- Community service
- Confiscation of weapons
- Completion of an anger management course
- Registration as a convicted sex offender
Our criminal defense lawyers are committed to fighting for your rights and protecting your interests throughout the legal process. We understand the laws, rules, and procedures necessary to defend those charged with all types of assault and obtain a successful outcome.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Assault Lawyer at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. Today
Whether you were swept into a bar fight or an argument with your spouse escalated beyond your control, your private dispute can quickly become the business of local law enforcement. Fortunately, our assault defense lawyer may help you avoid or mitigate the consequences that often stem from these types of offenses.
For more than 65 years, the aggravated assault attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. have been serving the legal needs of Pennsylvanians in the Montgomery County area. We know the state’s criminal court system like the back of their hand, so we are capable of devising a tactical defense strategy for your case. Give us a call at (215) 822-7575 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.