Assault Charges in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, an assault occurs when a person gets involved in a physical altercation, inflicts (or attempts to inflict) a bodily injury on another person, or puts the person in fear of potential harm or danger. Assault can be classified into simple assault and aggravated assault.
According to Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 Section 2701, a person commits the offense of "simple assault" when they:
- Attempt to cause or intentionally or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person
- Negligently cause bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon
- Attempt (by physical menace) to make someone fearful of imminent bodily injury
- Intentionally or knowingly penetrate a law enforcement officer using a hypodermic needle
Depending on the surrounding circumstances, simple assault may be charged as a first-, second-, or third-degree misdemeanor. Possible penalties for different degrees of simple assault are as follows:
- Second-degree assault: Simple assault is typically a second-degree misdemeanor, and is punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of $5,000.
- Third-degree assault: If an injury occurred in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, the crime is punishable by six months to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
- First-degree assault: If the assault is against a child under 12 years of age by a person 18 years of age or older, it is punishable by two-and-half to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
According to Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 Section 2702, a person may be guilty of "aggravated assault" if they:
- Attempt to cause serious bodily injury to another, or cause an injury intentionally or recklessly without value for human life
- Intentionally cause or attempt to cause serious bodily injury to an officer while in the performance of duty
- Intentionally cause or attempts to cause bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon
- Intentionally cause or attempts to cause bodily injury to a teaching staff member, school board member, or another school employee
- Attempt (by physical menace) to put any law enforcement officers, agents, or employees in fear of imminent serious bodily injury while in the performance of their duty
- Use tear gas or another or noxious substance or an electric or electronic incapacitation device against any officer or employee who is acting in the scope of their employment
- Intentionally cause or attempt to cause bodily injury to a child less than six years of age
- Intentionally cause or attempt to cause serious bodily injury to a child less than 13 years of age
Depending on the surrounding circumstances, aggravated assault may be charged as a first-degree felony or second-degree felony, which carry the following penalties:
- First-degree aggravated assault: Punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000
- Second-degree aggravated assault: Punishable by five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000
Hire a Knowledgeable Attorney
Defending yourself against your assault charges could easily increase your risk of being convicted and receiving the maximum punishment. When facing assault allegations, it is imperative that you hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and explore your possible legal defenses.
At Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., I've dedicated my career to handling a wide range of legal matters, including assault. As your attorney, I will review the details of your situation, conduct a thorough investigation, and decide the most effective defense strategy to maximize your chances of reaching a favorable resolution to your case.
Using my extensive experience, I will help you navigate the Pennsylvania criminal justice system. I will fight aggressively to protect your rights and ensure that you receive fair treatment.