Simple assault is a serious charge that can result in jail time, hefty fees, loss of the right to gun ownership, and other life-altering consequences. Since simple assault is one of the most common criminal charges in America, so many people are familiar with what the charge entails. However, there are others who are still unfamiliar with how simple assault differs from aggravated assault, what penalties are connected to a simple assault charge, and possible defenses that can be used against these charges.
If you or someone close to you is facing simple assault charges, it’s imperative that you seek the representation of an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The Bucks County simple assault defense lawyers from Young Marr & Associates understand how to navigate the legal system, giving their clients the best chance of being treated fairly throughout the process. Contact the professionals at Young Marr & Associates to discuss your options or schedule a free consultation. Call (866) 781-4058 today to learn more.
Simple Assault Charges in Bucks County, PA
According to Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2701, simple assault is defined as an attempt at causing bodily injury intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly; it is also defined as negligently causing injury with a deadly weapon. In general, this means that accidental or unintentionally injury cannot be considered to be simple assault, except in cases where a deadly weapon was involved; intentionally causing injury to someone else using a deadly weapon is considered aggravated assault.
According to the legal definition, a deadly weapon is a firearm or any object or item that can produce death or serious bodily injury. In some rare cases, it is possible to be charged with simple assault if the defendant carries a hypodermic needle and unintentionally injures a police officer while they are being patted down.
It should be noted that the victim of simple assault does not have to actually suffer from injuries in order to press charges; the defendant must only attempt or threaten to injure them for the incident to meet the definition of simple assault. For example, attempting to punch someone and missing is a type of simple assault, even though the object of the attempted punch is left unharmed.
Simple assault is often confused with aggravated assault, since both involve injuries (or attempted injuries) that result from violence. According to Pennsylvania law, aggravated assault entails intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing serious physical injury to someone else; knowingly causing injury to someone else with a deadly weapon; or committing simple assault against a member of the government, including court officials, law enforcement officers, or firefighters.
Aggravated assault is treated much more seriously than simple assault and carries more severe penalties. Simple assault, however, is more common in Bucks County.
Penalties for Simple Assault in Bucks County
Convictions for simple assault in Pennsylvania are usually treated as second-degree misdemeanors. However, there are two exceptions that are often made. The first involves situations in which multiple people agree to enter into a fight; this situation is usually treated as a third-degree misdemeanor. Another exception is any situation in which a person above the age of 18 assaults a victim under the age of 12; in these cases, the simple assault will be treated as a first-degree misdemeanor.
Second-degree misdemeanor offenses carry a penalty of up to two years in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Third-degree misdemeanor offenses result in one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines while third-degree misdemeanors, the most severe charge, results in up to five years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Defending Against Simple Assault Charges in PA
There are several affirmative defenses that may be used to defend against simple assault charges in Pennsylvania. One of the most prevalent is self-defense. To use this as a defense, the defendant will need to prove that they believed that the threat of injury was imminent. In some cases, claiming that the defendant committed the simple assault in an attempt to defend another person who was at risk of being injured – or to defend property – may also serve as a legitimate defense.
It may be possible for the defendant to claim that they were provoked into attacking the victim; this may only reduce the defendant’s penalties, however. Although it rarely succeeds, it may also be possible to use a defense of involuntary intoxication, which applies when a defendant is drugged without their consent.
It is also possible that your simple assault charges are invalid because you were misidentified. To prove that you are not the one who actually committed the assault, a lawyer may be able to present an alibi that proves you were not at the scene when it happened. A lawyer may also be able to challenge the validity of evidence or witnesses used against you.
Contact a Simple Assault Defense Attorney Serving Bucks County
Take action now to protect yourself from the severe consequences attached to a simple assault charge. Choosing an experienced lawyer to represent you as you deal with your charges in Bucks County is the best way to make sure that your rights will be respected while your case moves through the legal system. The Bucks County simple assault lawyers at Young Marr & Associates are available to assist people facing these charges throughout the region. Call them today at (866) 781-4058 and schedule your free consultation.