Aggravated assault is an incredibly serious felony in Pennsylvania and may lead to many years behind bars. You should immediately contact a lawyer if you or someone you know is facing aggravated assault charges.
Assault is a broad offense that generally encompasses two different offenses. Simple assault is a less serious form of assault in which victims tend to experience less serious injuries. Aggravated assault is far more severe, victims often have worse injuries, and the way the defendant allegedly committed the crime is more outrageous. Aggravated assault is a felony. In fact, it is sometimes charged as a first-degree felony, the most serious offense on the books in Pennsylvania. In many cases, defendants face decades in prison if convicted. Our team can help you fight the charges by negating criminal elements and getting the charges dropped, dismissed, or reduced.
Aggravated assault charges are not something you should consider handling alone. Our Pennsylvania aggravated assault lawyers are ready to fight for your in court and protect your rights. For a free case evaluation, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 372-8667.
The Difference Between Simple and Aggravated Assault in Pennsylvania
To understand the nature of assault charges, it is important to understand the difference between simple and aggravated assault. While simple assault is comparatively less severe, aggravated assault is extremely serious. Depending on the circumstances, our Pennsylvania aggravated assault lawyers can urge the court or prosecutor to reduce your charges to simple assault.
Simple assault is found under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2701(a) and is a less serious form of assault compared to aggravated assault and may be committed in several ways:
- You intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause or attempt to cause someone physical harm.
- You negligently cause physical harm with a deadly weapon.
- You attempt to put someone in fear of physical harm through physical menace.
- You knowingly or intentionally conceal or attempt to conceal a hypodermic needle to prick a law enforcement official during an arrest or search.
Simple assault is typically graded as a second-degree misdemeanor unless it occurred when the defendant and alleged victim mutually entered into a fight. Then it is a third-degree misdemeanor. It might be a first-degree misdemeanor if the alleged victim was younger than 12 and you are at least 18.
Aggravated assault is listed under 18 Pa.C.S. § 2702(a) and is generally a much more serious offense than simple assault. Aggravated assault is often charged in situations similar to simple assault; the nature of the offense is usually more severe. For example, you might be charged with aggravated assault if you knowingly or intentionally cause or attempted to cause serious bodily harm under conditions of extreme indifference to human life.
Not only does the magnitude of harm play a significant role in aggravated assault charges, but so does the use of a weapon. Intentionally or knowingly using a weapon to cause bodily harm also constitutes aggravated assault, even if the actual harm done is not severe.
The victim’s identity might also influence charges, as assaulting certain kinds of people might automatically bump up your charges. For example, assaulting certain government officers or agents (e.g., the police, firefighters, sheriffs) will result in aggravated assault charges. You should contact our Pennsylvania aggravated assault lawyers for help immediately if you believe you or someone you know is being charged with this offense.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault in Pennsylvania
The exact nature of your charges will vary based on how you allegedly committed the offense. For example, if prosecutors argue that you caused serious bodily harm manifesting extreme indifference, you may be charged with a first-degree felony. This is the highest degree of a felony a person can be charged with and comes with a possible penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
In many other cases, the defendant might be charged with a second-degree, only one step down from a first-degree felony. A second-degree felony may be punished by up to 10 years in prison. Defendants facing multiple charges or counts of aggravated assault might face many decades behind bars. Our Pennsylvania aggravated assault attorneys can help you fight these charges and hopefully avoid such harsh penalties.
You should also be aware of other charges connected to aggravated assault charges. For example, if your aggravated assault case allegedly involves a firearm, you might face additional charges related to the firearm. For example, if the firearm was unlawfully possessed, or you are legally prohibited from having a firearm, there are additional criminal charges that will only add to your penalties.
How to Fight Charges for Aggravated Assault in Pennsylvania
Our Pennsylvania aggravated assault lawyers can use numerous tactics and strategies to help you fight your charges. One method is to work on having the charges reduced. Sometimes, it is just not possible to have criminal charges completely dropped or dismissed, and an acquittal at trial might be unlikely. In that case, our team can help you negotiate a plea deal with prosecutors to reduce your charges.
Going from a first to second-degree felony might spare you an entire decade in prison. Going from aggravated to simple assault charges might save you a lot more, and you would only be facing misdemeanor charges. We might have your charges reduced to simple assault if prosecutors lack the evidence to bump them to aggravated assault. For example, if they have evidence of assault but cannot prove it involves indifference to human life or the injuries were not serious, simple assault charges might be more appropriate.
If prosecutors are not open to reducing or dropping charges, we can fight the charges in a full trial and let a jury make the final decision. We can argue that you should not be found guilty if there are holes in the prosecutor’s evidence. For example, suppose the prosecutor argues that you committed aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, but they cannot find any evidence of a weapon. In that case, we can argue that the jury should find you not guilty because not all criminal elements have been satisfied by the prosecutor.
Call Our Pennsylvania Aggravated Assault Lawyers for a Free Case Review
Aggravated assault charges are extremely serious, and convicted defendants spend many years in prison. Our Pennsylvania aggravated assault lawyers can help you fight these charges and protect yourself. For a free case assessment, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 372-8667.