How Does Pennsylvania Law Define Simple Assault?

Simple assault is defined under Title 18 Pa C.S.A. 2701. That defines simple assault as an attempt or attempts to cause bodily injury intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly, or negligently causes injury with a deadly weapon. It is a misdemeanor in the State of Pennsylvania.

What Acts Can Be Construed As Simple Assault

The typical ones that we find are mutual fights, a bar fight that gets out of hand where you strike another. That is a simple assault charge. If you are involved in an incident where you knock somebody to the ground or if the bar fight is happening, and you hit one of the other guy’s friends to the ground, that could be a simple assault. One of the other ones that is a little more rare, but I had this happen where someone is concealing a hypodermic needle and when law enforcement had patted him down, they actually get stuck by the needle.

This happens mainly for diabetics which is what my gentleman was and he was getting patted down for an incident after an arrest. The officer has patted him down for weapons and ended up sticking himself with a hypodermic needle. Thus, he got charged with the additional assault.

Does An Alleged Victim Have To Be Injured For Simple Assault Charges To Occur?

It can merely be the threat. The law defines it as an attempt or attempts to commit. If you take a swing at somebody and you miss, that can still be considered a simple assault and you can be charged with attempted simple assault.

What Are The Penalties Associated With Simple Assault?

A simple assault can be a misdemeanor of the first, second, or third degree which then, the penalty ranges for a maximum sentence. For misdemeanor three, it is a maximum one year and a $2500 fine. A misdemeanor two is a maximum two years, and a $5000 fine. A misdemeanor one which is five years and a $10,000 fine. You can get the misdemeanor of the first degree if it is against a child under the age of twelve and you are an adult over the age of twenty-one. If it is a deadly weapon against a child or you caused fear, or a serious bodily injury against the child, the hypodermic needle situation against a child is an M1 as well.

How Does Pennsylvania Law Define Aggravated Assault?

Aggravated assault is attempt to cause serious bodily injury or injury with extreme indifference to human life. That is under the Statute 18 Pa C.S.A. 2702. This is beyond your typical bar fight where a couple of punches are thrown. This is where you are using a beer bottle or take the other individual’s head and smashing it on the ground. That is what rises to the level where you are beyond intent to cause or negligently causing injury under the simple assault to you knowingly causing severe bodily injury to an individual. Aggravated Assault is a felony charge.

What Does Assault With A Deadly Weapon Mean?

It typically falls under aggravated assault. A deadly weapon could possibly be used under simple assault as well where you caused bodily injury. That is typically something where you pick up a bat, and you hit a guy in the arm, but you did not actually cause serious bodily injury versus using the bat and hitting the guy in the head multiple times where he blacks out. That is serious bodily injury. When you are dealing with a deadly weapon, you are looking at most likely aggravated assault, but it could also fall down to simple assault depending on the situation.

What Are The Items That Are Considered As Deadly Weapons?

It is an extremely broad term. Obviously a gun or knife, those fall into that category. But then anything can typically become a deadly weapon when used in a certain manner. Like I said, he has the baseball bat, a tire iron. You could even have a big enough rock, and used that. Hitting someone with a vehicle, that is considered a deadly weapon.

Does A Victim Have To Be Injured In Order To Constitute Assault With A Deadly Weapon Charges?

No. You can get charged with attempt there as well. Just because you shot the gun and missed, it does not mean you did not commit aggravated assault. They will charge you with attempted aggravated assault. The intent of the alleged perpetrator affects an assault charge, but there are other factors. One is your intent. Another is knowingly. Then, there is also recklessly under the simple assault charge. As far as the aggravated assault, in addition to intent, you also have with extreme indifference to human life. That is where you are acting well beyond recklessness and where you just stop caring about the injuries that you are going to cause.

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