Punching a stranger in a bar fight or accidentally stabbing a friend in the hand are relatively serious offenses, but they are classified as misdemeanor assault under Pennsylvania law and at most they will land you a few years in jail. Aggravated assault, on the other hand, is a major crime, a felony in Pennsylvania, and it can be punished with as many as 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines for a first offense. There are different types of aggravated assault, some more severe under the law than others, but they all carry stiff penalties.
If you are facing aggravated assault charges in the Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced aggravated assault defense attorney in Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.
Aggravated Assault and Extreme Indifference in Pennsylvania
Aggravated assault comes in a number of different varieties, all of which are outlined in Pennsylvania law. The first and broadest type involves cases where a defendant is accused of causing or attempting to cause serious bodily harm to another person. The prosecution must prove the injury was caused intentionally, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances that show extreme indifference to the value of human life. This is a first-degree felony punishable by as many as 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine for a first offense. As an example, in 2009 a Williamsport, Pennsylvania, man was convicted of aggravated assault and other charges after he stabbed a man in the chest during an unprovoked fight. He was sentenced to more than 18 years in Pennsylvania state prison.
Aggravated Assault on Government Officers in Pennsylvania
Another type of aggravated assault involves government agents. Under Pennsylvania statute, causing or attempting to cause serious bodily harm to any of a long list of public officials, including police officers, firefighters, parole officers and correctional officers, can be either a first-degree or second-degree felony. Again, the defendant must have acted intentionally, knowingly or recklessly. In 2005 the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the 20- to 40-year prison term of a man sentenced for both attempted murder and aggravated assault, even though both charges stemmed from the same incident. Because he assaulted a police officer as defined under Pennsylvania’s aggravated assault statute, the aggravated assault charge was considered legally distinct from the attempted murder charge.
Lesser Types of Aggravated Assault in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania statutes also define several other types of aggravated assault. These are second-degree felonies and are punishable by as many as 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine for a first offense. Causing or attempting to cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon, if done intentionally or knowingly, is aggravated assault. So is intentional or knowing assault on a teacher, school board member or other employee at an elementary or secondary school. Menacing police officers, correctional officers and other government agents in order to put them in fear of serious bodily harm is also second-degree aggravated assault. As is using teargas, other noxious gas, or electroshock weapons such as Tasers.
Aggravated Assault and Self-Defense in Pennsylvania
If you injured another person in an act of self-defense, you may have a strong defense. You will have to establish that the injured person started the fight and that you responded with no more than the same amount of force the injured person used or tried to use on you.
If you or a loved one are in the Pennsylvania area and have been charged with aggravated assault, call Brian Manchester, an experienced aggravated assault defense lawyer in Pennsylvania. He can help you build the defense you need today.