Philadelphia Aggravated Assault Defense Lawyers
Any assault charge in Philadelphia is serious. However, aggravated assault charges are even more serious than other types of assault allegations. While simple assault is a misdemeanor, aggravated assault is a felony offense, which means the penalties are substantially greater. If you are convicted of aggravated assault in Philadelphia, you could be imprisoned for years, in addition to facing costly fines. You will also sustain damage to your reputation and could even lose your job.
In light of the dire consequences that can result from a conviction of aggravated assault or other violent felony crimes, it is critical to be represented by an experienced Philadelphia aggravated assault defense lawyer. The legal team at the Law Offices of Lloyd Long has successfully handled numerous aggravated assault cases and is prepared to build a robust defense on your behalf. It is urgent to act quickly if you, your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, or a family member has been arrested for aggravated assault. Our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide assistance.
For immediate legal assistance, call the Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 for a free legal consultation.
How is Aggravated Assault Defined in Philadelphia
The crime of assault can be broken down into two rather broad categories. These categories are simple assault and aggravated assault. Simple assault, as defined under § 2701 of Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, occurs when a person attempts to cause, or knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly causes, bodily harm to another person. Simple assault may also occur when you negligently cause bodily harm with a deadly weapon. Simple assault can also include attempts to place another person in fear of a threat of bodily harm using physical menace. Simple assault also includes using a hypodermic needle to penetrate a law enforcement officer during an arrest or search.
Aggravated assault is similar to simple assault, but tends to include more serious forms of bodily harm under conditions considered more morally reprehensible. Aggravated assault is defined under § 2702 of Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes as causing, or attempting to cause, either intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly, serious bodily harm under conditions that can be described as indifferent to human life. Aggravated assault may also cover assault using a deadly weapon and assault against law enforcement or peace officers.
It is important to understand the distinctions between simple and aggravated assault because aggravated assault may only be charged if specific conditions or circumstances are present. A defendant must have the requisite mindset or intent to cause serious bodily harm. Also, the conditions under which the harm is caused must be so depraved that the defendant can be said to have no regard for the alleged victim’s life. While these criteria are quite severe, they also set a high burden for prosecutors. Our dedicated team of Philadelphia aggravated assault attorneys can help you fight your charges and protect your rights in court.
Aggravated Assault Compared to Other Similar Crimes in Philadelphia
There are quite a few criminal acts in Pennsylvania that share the moniker of “assault.” Aggravated assault is only one of those charges, albeit the most serious. The reality is that many aggravated assaults start out as conduct that may have resulted in a lesser charge that, for one reason or another, got out of hand. Below, our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers will go through some of the other assault charges and explain how conduct that makes up one kind of assault could easily spiral into aggravated assault.
Simple assault is defined by 18 Pa. C.S. § 2701 as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person. It is also a simple assault to negligently cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon. Third, it is a simple assault to threaten somebody with the prospect of serious bodily injury. Finally, concealing a hypodermic needle and then using it to inject a police officer, prison guard, or other law enforcement person is simple assault.
Simple assault can easily turn into aggravated assault. The real turning point becomes how serious the victim’s injuries are. It does not take much for “bodily injury” to become “serious bodily injury.” For example, suppose you twist your friend’s arm as a “prank” (not that this should ever be considered a prank). Your intent is to cause pain or potentially even injury. However, instead of merely twisting your friend’s arm, you break it and pull it out of its socket. Now, the charge will likely be aggravated assault.
Disorderly Conduct is outlined in 18 Pa. C.S. § 5503. It entails engaging in fighting or other reckless behavior with the intent of causing inconvenience or annoyance. Just like with a simple assault, a lighthearted fight can quickly go south and devolve into something deserving of an aggravated assault charge.
Breaking and Entering/Burglary
The crime of breaking and entering is criminalized under 18 Pa. C.S. § 3502. In Pennsylvania, this is called “burglary.” Burglary in Pennsylvania entails entering a building with the intent to commit a crime therein. However, the perpetrator must also be entering a structure where somebody is meant to live and sleep.
There is very little guarantee that such a structure will be unoccupied. Someone getting burgled may try and defend their abode. Such an altercation can easily result in an aggravated assault charge for the burglar if they respond violently.
What are Common Types of Aggravated Assault Charges in Philadelphia?
Luckily, you do not have to face these serious charges alone. At The Law Offices of Lloyd Long, our Philadelphia aggravated assault defense lawyers have represented countless individuals in assault cases that resulted in serious injuries. To provide a few examples, our criminal attorneys have defended clients in aggravated assault cases including the following:
- Accusations of assaulting a police officer
- Accusations of assaulting medical personnel
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Bar fights
- Domestic violence and spousal abuse
- Gang fights
- Incidents where people have been beaten by the police
- Street fights and neighborhood fights
- Workplace violence
Assault charges may stem from any type of force or violence in any setting. The nature of your charges may be influenced by the setting and circumstances of the alleged assault. It is crucial that you consult with a lawyer about your case to fully understand the possible penalties you are up against. Contact our Philadelphia aggravated assault lawyers to discuss your situation with our experienced team.
Conduct that Leads to Aggravated Assault Charges in Philadelphia
There is some conduct that will automatically become aggravated assault in Pennsylvania. If you are charged with doing any of these things, it is a good idea to speak with our attorneys as soon as possible.
Strangulation will invariably result in an aggravated assault charge. Strangulation is incredibly dangerous because it deprives oxygen to the brain, which can result in permanent brain damage or, in many cases, death.
Spitting on Law Enforcement
It is considered aggravated assault to spit on a police officer or prison guard. You will be charged accordingly if you do this.
Aggravated Assault Charges for Specific Categories of Victims in Philadelphia
Aggravated assault charges may not only be based on the severity of the harm caused and the defendant’s intent. In many cases, aggravated assault charges are assessed because the victim is a particular person protected under the aggravated assault statutes. An assault against a specific type of victim may lead to aggravated assault charges regardless of the extent of the harm caused.
For example, assaulting a public officer, agent, or other employees while in the performance of their duties may be charged as aggravated assault. Such officers include, but are not limited to, police officers, firefighters, probation officers, sheriffs, correctional officers, and others.
The law also makes special provisions for teachers and other school employees. Any defendant who intentionally or knowingly causes bodily harm or injury to a teacher, school board member, or any other employee of an elementary or secondary publicly funded or private school may be charged with aggravated assault. However, the alleged victim must have been acting in the capacity of their profession when the assault supposedly took place.
In the circumstances listed above, it may be possible to argue for a reduction in your charges if the alleged victims were not acting in the capacity of their professions. Basically, if these school employees were off duty at the time of the alleged assault, you cannot be charged with aggravated assault. It is important to speak with an attorney about your case to figure out how to best fight your charges. Call our Philadelphia aggravated assault lawyers for a consultation as soon as possible. The list of victims of aggravated assault is extensive. Therefore, it bears going into a bit of detail about some of the parties that aggravated assault can be carried out against.
A police officer’s job is to enforce the law, keep the peace, and, if need be, put themselves in harm’s way to protect citizens. Their job does not need to be made more difficult by people looking to violently assault them.
Firefighters are incredibly helpful to their communities. Performing aggravated assault on one is not the best idea for having a successful court case. This is in part because juries may be sympathetic to firefighters because they put their lives on the line to help people. Moreover, many firefighters are volunteers from their community, so a technically impartial jury may not be fully so.
Adult and Juvenile Parole Officers
Parole Officers work with people convicted of crimes to turn them into model citizens and reintegrate them into society. They will also be some of the people assessing your behavior if you do unfortunately get convicted of a crime.
Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs
Much like police officers, sheriffs, and deputy sheriffs help to uphold the law in Pennsylvania. However, they are of a significantly higher stature and rank than ordinary police officers.
Assaulting a judge is a terrible idea. While the judge presiding over your case will never be the victim as well, there is a chance that a judge may be harsher on you, despite their best efforts, for this reason.
District Attorneys and Public Defenders
District attorneys and/or public defenders will likely be quite involved in your criminal legal proceedings. If you assaulted a district attorney, it is possible that the prosecutor working on your case knows them personally. The same is true of public defenders.
Members of State Government
Assaulting a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives or Senate, the governor or lieutenant governor, or any other member of the Pennsylvania state government will likely lead to serious charges against you, including aggravated assault.
Criminal Sentences for Aggravated Assault in Philadelphia
In Philadelphia, aggravated assault can be graded as a felony of the first degree. This is the most serious type of felony other than murder, which underscores how urgent aggravated assault charges truly are.
When an aggravated assault is charged as a first-degree felony, a conviction of assault could result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years, plus tens of thousands of dollars in fines. You could also permanently lose your gun rights while sustaining irreversible damage to your personal and professional relationships. Assault may be charged as a first-degree felony when the circumstances surrounding the event are especially heinous. For example, an assault with a deadly weapon, like a gun or a knife, is more likely to be charged as a first-degree felony.
In other cases, aggravated assault is graded as a second-degree felony. Though less serious than a first-degree felony, a felony of the second degree is still one of the highest charges a defendant can stand accused of. Second-degree felony aggravated assault is charged in a variety of circumstances, often when the defendant is accused of assaulting a police officer, such as a member of the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD). When an aggravated assault is a felony of the second degree, a conviction can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, in addition to fines.
Whether graded as a first- or second-degree felony, aggravated assault charges put you at risk for incarceration and have the potential to change your life forever. If you or someone you love is facing these charges, it is urgent that you contact our Philadelphia aggravated assault attorneys today for a comprehensive legal defense.
Plea Bargains for Aggravated Assault Charged in Philadelphia
Plea bargains, sometimes referred to as plea deals or plea agreements, are frequently used in criminal proceedings. A plea bargain entails the prosecutors reducing a defendant’s charges and the defendant pleading guilty and waiving their right to a trial. In the end, the prosecutor has one less trial to contend with and the defendant avoids a longer prison term. Plea bargains can be used in aggravated assault cases to reduce your charges down to simple assault.
As stated above, aggravated assault is very similar to simple assault, but the conditions under which aggravated assault tend to occur are more serious and the bodily harm is often more severe. If you are open to the idea of negotiating a plea bargain, our Philadelphia aggravated assault lawyers can work with prosecutors to hopefully reduce your charges to more lenient simple assault charges.
The success of plea negotiations with prosecutors will depend heavily on the circumstances surrounding your case and the alleged assault. Aggravated assault involves a cold indifference to human life. Prosecutors might be skeptical when negotiating a plea with someone they believe is so depraved. It would be even harder to negotiate a plea if the victim sustained very serious or permanent injuries.
Getting a good plea deal may require demonstrating that certain elements required for aggravated assault charges are not present or are flimsy at best. For example, we may be able to show that you did not act intentionally or knowingly but instead acted negligently. Such intent is more in line with simple assault charges. Our Philadelphia aggravated assault lawyers can help you negotiate the best plea for your case.
Our Law Firm’s History of Successful Aggravated Assault Defense Results
The Philadelphia aggravated assault lawyers at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long have defended these clients at jury trials, trials before judges, negotiated favorable pleas and had charges dismissed. Our criminal lawyers have successfully defended clients:
Accused of assaulting state troopers at a casino in the Poconos.
Accused of strangulation.
Alleged to have hit another man in the face with a medieval war mace. This type of weapon is a metal ball with spikes on it, attached to a chain, meant to be swung into an opponent’s face.
Facing a sentence of over 25 years because the complaining witness received severe injuries including a broken jaw.
Facing serious assault charges where the defendant allegedly shot another individual.
Facing serious criminal and professional penalties for allegedly assaulting first responders.
With a significant history of mental health issues, and accused of assaulting police during a medical emergency.
No matter what your charges are or what your circumstances may be, please call our office for help. Our Philadelphia aggravated assault attorneys are prepared to represent you to the best of their ability. Contact our team for a free and confidential consultation. If you, your son or daughter, a romantic partner, or a family member have been charged with aggravated assault in Philadelphia or the surrounding area, you need to seek immediate legal help. The sooner we can begin planning your defense, the stronger of a case we can build on your behalf
Our Philadelphia Aggravated Assault Defense Lawyers Can Help You With Your Case
Call our Philadelphia aggravated assault defense lawyers today at the Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 for a free, 100% confidential case review.