Does The Degree Of Injury Impact An Assault Charge?

Yes. Obviously, as an attorney, you want to know the exact details of the injury to determine whether it is a serious bodily injury or not. Some things are not considered serious bodily injuries. Others are. Serious bodily injury is defined under Title 18 Pa C.S.A. 2301. It is defined as bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or permanent loss or impairment of the functions of any bodily member or organ.

How Is Reckless Endangerment Defined Under Pennsylvania Law?

Reckless endangerment is under Title 18 Pa. C.S.A. 2705. It is defined as to recklessly engage in conduct that places or may place another person in danger of death or serious bodily injury. A lot of the reckless endangerment cases are any cases involving a weapon, because the commonwealth will say, “You had a weapon. You’re recklessly endangering other people that are around you.” You also get reckless endangerment in some vehicle offences. We see it a lot when you are driving with a DUI and you have a passenger in the vehicle. They can say that you are recklessly endangering a passenger, or there is an accident while you are DUI, or something in that affect, the commonwealth will say you could recklessly endanger other people in the roadway. We see it in these areas. It is a misdemeanor two and it is a maximum of two years and a $5000 fine.

What Are Mistakes That Are Detrimental To A Favorable Resolution Of Assault Charges?

They talk to the police, and they make statements that end up hurting them in the end even though they are being completely open and honest with the police, especially with bar fights, “He started it. He did this,” and they get in to the whole situation not knowing that they may state something to the effect of making it a mutual fight or a confession. Thus, then you get the charge of the simple assault. The best thing you can do when the police are contacted is retain a lawyer and remain silent.

Is Self-Defense A Viable Defense In Assault Cases?

Self-defense is used a lot in these cases. Going back to the typical bar fight, you can use self-defense in those cases. Mutual fights falls in to the category of self-defense, but if you are not initially a person where someone comes up and hits you from behind or something to that effect, you can then use a self-defense claim that you had no choice in the matter. An example would be if someone comes up and punches you while you are at a bar, you cannot then smash a bottle and try to cut them with the bottle. That goes beyond self-defense at that point. Self-defense cannot be claimed if you have a way of getting out of the situation with complete safety.

If a guy is really drunk, and he comes out, and somehow he landed a punch on you, and then falls over and passes out, you cannot then attack him and claim self-defense. Self-defense is a very good defense in these situations where you had no option, you had to defend yourself. We also use, as we touched on before, some of the other situations like where they are claiming intentional actions. If you intentionally caused these injuries, you can go after the intent as well.

Is The ARD Program Available To First Time Assault Offenders?

It is typically under the simple assault, but it depends on what county you are in. The way ARD program works, it is a program created by a statute that allows the districts attorney’s office to approve or deny people for the program. If someone is denied by a district attorney, the only way to overturn that denial in court, is you have to prove that the district attorney abused their discretion in denying your participation in the ARD program. That is a very high burden and almost never works. The ARD program is basically dependent on the district attorney, and every county has their own policies, for who should and should not get into this program.

As long as they have a legitimate reason, they do not have to let you in. Some district attorneys do not allow people in this program for aggravated assault, but they do for simple assault. Some district attorneys do not allow simple assault. Some if it is determined to be a domestic abuse situation where they are claiming it against a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, or wife. These district attorney offices who have stances against domestic abuse, will not let people into the program because of that.

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