In Pennsylvania, assault charges are taken very seriously. Understanding the nuances of these laws is crucial for anyone facing such charges. The Commonwealth classifies assault into two primary categories: simple and aggravated. Each carries distinct legal definitions and penalties. Please continue reading and reach out to a seasoned Mongomery County assault lawyer to learn more about the potential penalties you may face for an assault charge and how we can help fight for your future, every step of the way.
What is Simple Assault Under Pennsylvania Law?
Simple assault is generally considered a less severe form of assault. It occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another. Alternatively, it might involve a situation where an individual negligently causes bodily harm with a deadly weapon. Another scenario is an attempt or threat to physically harm another, which instills fear of imminent serious bodily injury. Importantly, jail time, among other penalties, is a possibility for those accused of even simple assault in Pennsylvania.
What is Aggravated Assault?
Aggravated assault, on the other hand, is a more serious offense. This crime involves causing or attempting to cause serious bodily injury to another while showing extreme indifference to human life, sometimes with a deadly weapon. What elevates this to an aggravated level is the perpetrator’s intent to cause serious harm. Furthermore, assaults against certain protected classes, like law enforcement officers, are automatically classified as aggravated.
What Are the Penalties for Assault Charges in Pennsylvania?
The penalties for assault in Pennsylvania vary based on the charge’s severity and the circumstances surrounding the incident. Simple assault is usually graded as a misdemeanor. For a third-degree misdemeanor, you can face up to one year of incarceration and a potential $5,000 fine. For a second-degree misdemeanor, you can face up to two years of incarceration and a $5,000 fine. For a first-degree misdemeanor, you can face up to five years of incarceration and a $10,000 fine.
Aggravated assault, being a more serious crime, is typically charged as a felony. This leads to more severe consequences, including longer sentences and higher fines. For example, a second-degree felony assault charge can warrant up to $25,000 in fines and up to 10 years of incarceration. First-degree assault can entail a potential $25,000 fine and up to 20 years of incarceration.
Importantly, each case is unique, and factors like the defendant’s criminal history and the specific circumstances of the assault play a significant role in the legal process. A skilled defense attorney can provide crucial representation.
If you’ve been charged with assault, Mudrick & Zucker stands ready to explore all avenues of defense, from questioning the evidence to negotiating plea deals. Contact our legal team today so we can get started working on your case and fighting for the justice you deserve.