Simple Assault vs. Aggravated Assault

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In Pennsylvania, simple assault is defined as when someone attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon or attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of eminent serious bodily injury.  Simple assault is usually classified as a second degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, which is punishable by up to two years in prison. However, if the simple assault was during a consensual fight, then it is a third degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to only one year in prison. If the assault involves a child under the age of 12, it is a first degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania and can result in a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.

 

Aggravated assault is defined as when someone attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury; attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes injury to a to a police officer, probation officer or other court related official or attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon. In Pennsylvania aggravated assault can either be a second degree felony punishable up to 10 years in prison or a first degree felony punishable up to 20 years in prison.

 

As with any misdemeanor or felony conviction in Pennsylvania, you face having a criminal record for the rest of your life. Thus, how you defend your case could make the difference of a lifetime. Not all assault cases are open-shut, as many cases involve complex facts and legal issues. In other cases, the accused may have a valid defense.  Some common defenses are:

  • Self-defense
  • Lack of intent / knowledge
  • No bodily injury
  • Age
  • Provocation
  • Insanity
  • Intoxication¬† (does not include voluntary intoxication)

In all, it is highly recommended you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney when facing assault charges.


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