In Pennsylvania, the crime of assault encompasses a variety of different situations. Generally speaking, assault involves some use of physical force to inflict or attempt to inflict any type of bodily injury on another person. Assault charges are taken very seriously by the authorities and you can expect them to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
In order to protect your rights and get the charges dismissed, it is essential that you retain an experienced Allentown, PA assault defense attorney like those on our team at Young Marr & Associates. Speaking with our team as soon as you learn you are being investigated for or charged with assault will help mitigate the potentially devastating consequences, including long prison sentences. Call us at (215) 372-8667 today to speak with an attorney about how we can help you fight assault charges.
The Difference Between Simple and Aggravated Assault in Allentown
Assault charges can be broadly classified into two groups: simple assault charges and aggravated assault charges. While both types are serious and require experienced legal counsel to fight, aggravated assault is an especially serious charge. The more serious the injury caused by the assault, the more likely it is to be classified as aggravated assault.
Simple Assault under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2701
Simple assault includes situations that involve any of the following:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly injuring another person
- Attempting to injure someone
- Negligently causing injury with a deadly weapon
- Attempting to put someone in fear of bodily harm
- Concealing a hypodermic needle and using it to stab a law enforcement officer
Aggravated Assault under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2702
Aggravated assault includes situations that involve any of the following:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing serious bodily injury while showing “extreme indifference to the value of human life”
- Attempting to cause serious bodily injury with extreme indifference to human life
- Assaulting or attempting to assault a public official, such as a police officer, EMT, or corrections officer, while they perform their duties
- Causing injury with a deadly weapon
- Assaulting a teacher or other educational staff member while they perform their duties
- Attempting to put a public official in imminent fear of serious bodily injury
- Using tear gas or a taser against an active-duty police officer
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly assaulting and causing serious bodily injury to a child under 13 if you are an adult aged 18 or older
Because some of these scenarios encompass not only attempts but also simply putting someone in fear of an imminent assault, it is entirely possible for someone to be charged with the crime of assault even if they never physically touched the other person or harmed them in any physical way.
Intentional Assault vs. Reckless Assault vs. Negligent Assault in Allentown
The terms “intentionally,” “knowingly,” “recklessly,” and “negligently” are used to differentiate between different types of assaults and their severity. However, these are legal terms that are not necessarily defined in the same way that they are defined in everyday use.
Under Pennsylvania law, a person acts intentionally if it is their conscious desire to act in a way that produces a certain result – which is bodily harm in the case of assault. A person acts knowingly if they are aware that it is practically certain that their actions will cause such a result. A person acts recklessly if they disregard a “substantial and unjustifiable” risk that their conduct will bring about such a result, i.e., dropping heavy objects from a second-story window despite knowing there is a busy sidewalk below. Finally, a person acts negligently when they should be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk, even if they are not actually aware of it, and they grossly deviate from the standard of care expected of a reasonable person in their situation.
Penalties for Assault Crimes in Allentown
The penalties for assault crimes vary depending on whether they are classified as a simple or aggravated assault.
Simple Assault Penalties
Simple assault is typically classified as a second-degree misdemeanor. A second-degree misdemeanor can result in imprisonment of up to 2 years and fines of up to $5,000. However, if it is committed by a person over 18 against a minor under 12, it is a misdemeanor of the first degree. A first-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
Aggravated Assault Penalties
Most cases of aggravated assault are charged as a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Any aggravated assault that results in a serious bodily injury, however, will be charged as a first-degree felony. A felony of the first degree is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $20,000.
Call Our Seasoned Assault Defense Lawyers in Allentown, PA Today
Simple assault charges can result in severe penalties if you are convicted. Aggravated assault charges can result in even more serious consequences including prison time for 20 years of your life. If you are facing assault charges, it is imperative that you call a criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. The attorneys at Young Marr & Associates have years of experience fighting these types of charges and will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible result for you. We understand that being charged with a crime is scary and confusing, and we want to use our experience to help guide you to a positive ending. Do not hesitate to act to protect your interests and your liberty. Call our Allentown, PA assault defense lawyers today at (215) 372-8667.