Facing serious assault charges requires detailed knowledge about how Pennsylvania handles these crimes. Even a fight at the bar can escalate to a felony depending on the circumstances of the incident.
Review the difference between simple and aggravated assault in Pennsylvania when preparing for a legal defense on this type of charge.
Harming someone recklessly or purposely constitutes simple assault in the state. Examples include incidents involving physical intimidation and negligence with a deadly weapon. While knives and guns are deadly weapons, this definition also applies to anything used to harm someone in an assault (a baseball bat, for example).
When this type of conduct occurs in a fight, the defendant could receive up to a year in prison. Elevated charges apply when the assault victim is younger than 12 and the defendant is an adult.
Pennsylvania uses this charge when the person’s conduct involved disregard of human life. Aggravated assault also includes attempts to harm public officials, including teachers, firefighters, police officers and others on duty.
A conviction for aggravated assault can carry up to a decade in prison in Pennsylvania as a second-degree felony. Elevated first-degree felony charges apply to an assault involving a police officer or firefighter. This conviction may carry up to 20 years in prison. People convicted for assault in Pennsylvania may also receive fines of up to $25,000.
Individuals facing these charges in court may argue that they acted in self-defense or provide evidence that the plaintiff wrongfully accused them of the assault.