Any person facing a criminal assault charge in Pennsylvania will face serious legal consequences. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to obtain legal assistance if you, a family member or someone you know was arrested for assault. Navigating the complicated and confusing criminal court system requires the experience and knowledge of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. Quick action is essential to build a strategic and robust defense for your case.
At the Law Office of Lloyd Long, we are firm believers that quick action will place you in a better position to fight off your charges. Our Philadelphia assault lawyers are ready to work tirelessly to obtain a favorable outcome to your case. To learn more about your legal situation in a free, confidential consultation call our law offices today at (215) 302-0171.
Types of Assault Charges in PA
Generally, assault crimes are divided into two main categories. These categories are known as simple assault and aggravated assault. Each variation of the offense has unique characteristics separating one from the other, and each carries specific penalties.
The definition of simple assault is provided by 18 Pa.C.S. § 2701. According to this legal statute, a person is guilty of assault if he or she:
- Causes or attempts to cause a bodily injury to another person knowingly, intentionally or recklessly.
- Negligently uses a deadly weapon (such as a gun or knife) to cause another person bodily harm.
- Physically menaces another person to put him or her in fear of imminent, serious bodily injury.
Charges for aggravated assault can stem from different situations. Some of the reasons a person can face criminal charges for aggravated assault include the following instances:
- A person attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another person showing indifference for human life, and or human value. Elements of intention, recklessness, and knowledge are also taken into consideration when finding a person guilty of this crime.
- A person attempts to inflict a severe bodily injury to public servants such as officers and firefighters – among others – while performing their respective duties.
- A person intentionally and knowingly causes serious bodily harm to another person by using a deadly weapon.
What Are the Penalties for Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault?
When a person faces charges of simple assault, the crime will be classified as a misdemeanor under Pennsylvania law. However, depending on the severity and the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime, penalties might be more severe and fines could be higher. Penalties are broken down as follows:
Third Degree Misdemeanor:
Sentence: 1 year in prison
Fine: Up to $2,000
Second Degree Misdemeanor:
Sentence: 2 years in prison
First Degree Misdemeanor:
Sentence: 5 years in prison
As you can see, penalties associated with simple assault can be extremely harsh and burdensome. However, to be found guilty of simple assault, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that all elements of the crime were present in the alleged incident. That is why you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately if you or a loved one is facing simple assault charges.
Unlike simple assault, aggravated assault is considered a felony under Pennsylvania law. Generally, the consequences are much worse for those found guilty of this crime. Penalties are divided into first and second-degree felonies, both of which carry different implications for the defendant.
Second Degree Aggravated Assault: Assault that does not result in serious bodily injury to another person.
Sentence: Up to 10 years in prison
First Degree Aggravated Assault: Assault results in serious bodily injury to another person.
Sentence: Up to 20 years in prison
Fine: Up to $25,000
A felony is the most serious type of crime any person can face. As you see, penalties associated with these charges are among the most severe. In situations where an individual faces criminal charges of this nature, legal representation is essential.
If you have a criminal record, penalties may be increased regardless of which level of crime you are charged with. If you have no criminal record, judges may be willing to reduce the penalties against you. Talk to an attorney about sentencing in your case.
Defenses for Assault Charges
Defending yourself against these serious allegations can be achieved by building a robust defense strategy that may include the following:
You may argue that the charges against you are unfounded simply because you were not present as alleged. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you establish and prove your alibi to show you were not present when the alleged crime was committed.
Insufficiency of Evidence
Being accused of a crime does not make you automatically guilty. As stated before, the prosecution has to prove beyond reasonable doubt all elements of the crime are present in your case. Therefore, you are entitled to question and challenge all evidence presented against you in court.
Obtain Legal Help from an Experienced Philadelphia Assault Defense Lawyer
Whether you face simple or aggravated assault charges, the consequences of a conviction can be severe. Do not wait another minute if you or someone you know is facing assault charges in Philadelphia. Call our knowledgeable Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Lloyd Long today for a free consultation at (215) 302-0171.