Assault charges can be a major burden and a serious challenge to anyone. This is true whether the charges are low-level misdemeanors or first-degree felonies. An assault conviction can mean jail time, even prison, and substantial fines. But if you have been charged with simple assault, you can at least know you are facing the low end of the prosecutorial arsenal when it comes to assault laws in Pennsylvania. Simple assault includes a number of different forms of assault, all of them misdemeanors.
If you are facing simple assault charges in the Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced simple assault defense attorney in Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.
The Assault Scale and Simple Assault in Pennsylvania
Assault law in Pennsylvania includes everything from bar scuffles and stalking to ethnic intimidation and weapons of mass destruction. Assault, generally speaking, is any attempt or threat to commit a violent act on another person. The assaulter can be charged whether or not the act occurs. If you throw a punch, you may be charged with assault regardless of whether the punch lands. If you threaten a person with imminent harm, you may be charged with assault regardless of whether you carry out the threat. Simple assault falls at the lowest end of the assault scale.
Simple Assault vs. Aggravated Assault in Pennsylvania
The key difference between simple assault and most other types of assault is the severity of the injury. Simple assault causes or attempts to cause bodily injury; by contrast, aggravated assault causes or attempts to cause serious bodily injury. Simple assault also differs from other kinds of assault in that there is often a lesser degree of intent involved in simple assault. In cases of simple assault, it is enough that the defendant intended harm, knew harm would come from his actions, or acted recklessly. In most cases of aggravated assault, by contrast, the prosecution must also show the defendant’s act displayed extreme indifference to the value of human life.
Simple Assault: How It Works in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily harm to another person is considered simple assault. Negligently injuring another person with a deadly weapon is also simple assault (as opposed to doing so knowingly or intentionally, which is aggravated assault). So is physically threatening or intimidating another person in an attempt to create fear of imminent serious bodily harm. The final type of simple assault occurs when a defendant knowingly or intentionally conceals or tries to conceal a hypodermic needle during an arrest or search and sticks a police officer, correctional officer or mental-health-facility worker.
Penalties for Simple Assault in Pennsylvania
For the most part, simple assault is treated as a second-degree misdemeanor. This means it is punishable in Pennsylvania by two years in prison and $5,000 in fines for a first offense. There are exceptions, however. If the assault occurred during a fight entered into by mutual consent, it is considered a third degree felony and punishable by a year in jail and $2,500 in fines. If the assault was committed by an adult over 21 against a child under 12, it is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by five years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
If you or a loved one are in the Pennsylvania area and have been charged with simple assault, call Brian Manchester, an experienced simple assault defense lawyer in Pennsylvania. He can help you build the defense you need today.