In Pennsylvania, there are two types of assault: simple and aggravated. These types of assault have varying degrees of severity that determine the punishment that the defendant will receive. Many assault crimes are considered to be second-degree felonies, which means that penalties may include fines of $25,000 or a prison sentence that can last up to 10 years. The record of the assault may also stain your background, remaining visible to potential landlords and employers for many years following the arrest.
A second-degree assault charge should be treated seriously; use the aid of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you understand your charges, craft a defense, and ensure that the prosecution is operating properly. Bucks County second-degree assault lawyers Young Marr & Associates are available to help those that have been charged with second-degree assault. Contact them at your earliest convenience to learn more about your options. You can even schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Call (866) 781-4058 today.
Second Degree Aggravated Assault in Pennsylvania
Aggravated assault is one of two types of physical assault charges that can be filed in Pennsylvania; the other is simple assault. The charge of aggravated assault entails attempting to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly injure someone. To convict someone for aggravated assault, a prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant acted knowingly (they were aware of the consequences of their actions) and recklessly (they disregarded the consequences of their actions).
Aggravated assault often involves the use of a deadly weapon. A deadly weapon is defined as anything that could cause death or serious injury to a victim. This may be a gun or knife, but it could also be a baseball bat or heavy rock. Also, any act of simple assault committed against a public official or employee (law enforcement officers, school employees, correctional officers, public utility workers, etc.) is automatically elevated to aggravated assault. For an aggravated assault charge to be filed, it is not necessary for the victim to have suffered injuries. For aggravated assault charges to be filed, the defendant must have at least attempted or threatened to injure the victim.
Aggravated assault is either a second-degree felony or a first-degree felony. Aggravated assault that does not involve serious bodily injury to the victim is classified as a second-degree felony. Penalties for second-degree felonies are punishable by a fine up to $25,000 and a maximum of ten years in prison. Aggravated assault that does involve serious injury (or attempts or threats of serious injury) are classified as first-degree felonies. These crimes are punishable by twenty years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Self-defense may be an acceptable defense for aggravated assault charges if the defendant and their legal representatives can prove that they believed that the threat of injury was imminent. If the defendant was misidentified, providing proof that the defendant was not present at the time of the assault will serve as an acceptable defense.
Second Degree Simple Assault in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the United States, simple assault charges are less severe than aggravated assault charges. Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2701 states that simple assault is an attempt (or multiple attempts) at intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily harm (aggravated assault is also defined this way; the major difference is the severity of the bodily harm). Simple assault is also defined as using a deadly weapon to negligently cause injury.
The intent behind the defendant’s actions is important. This means that they must be aware of the consequences of their actions and then disregard them. It is important to note that the victim of an act of simple assault does not have to suffer bodily harm. All that is needed to charge someone with simple assault is an attempt at, or even a threat of, bodily harm. Simple assault may also involve a deadly weapon.
Almost all simple assault charges are second-degree misdemeanors. One exception is simple assault committed by a person that is over the age of 18 against a person that is under the age of 12; this is treated as a first-degree misdemeanor. Another exception is situations in which two or more people agree to enter into a fight, which is treated as a third-degree misdemeanor. Since it is typically a second-degree misdemeanor, the penalties for simple assault include a maximum of two years in jail and a fine of $5,000.
The defenses that may be used for simple assault are the same as the defenses that may be used for aggravated assault. Self-defense is an acceptable defense if it can be proven that the defendant believed that injury (or the threat of injury) was imminent at the time of the assault. The defendant may also be able to claim that they were acting to prevent imminent harm to another person or a piece of property.
In cases in which the defendant has been misidentified, a lawyer can provide an alibi to prove that the defendant was not present for the attack. Challenging the validity of evidence used against the defendant is another function of an experienced second-degree assault lawyer.
Contact the Second Degree Assault Lawyers Serving Bucks County
The second-degree assault lawyers from Young Marr & Associates are equipped to provide criminal defense representation to people throughout the Bucks County area. The lawyers at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates are committed to working tirelessly to defend their clients against criminal charges. Get in touch with them soon by calling (866) 781-4058 and schedule a confidential consultation, free of charge.