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What is the law in Pennsylvania on assault?

Pennsylvania has two main categories of assault recognized in court: simple assault and aggravated assault. This blog will briefly define what these terms mean, what factual circumstances are sufficient to form these charges, and what the sentences consist of.

If you have any uncertainties about your situation, it is important to seek legal guidance so that your case can be fully assessed.

What is Simple Assault?

Simple assault is a situation in which the defendant attempted to cause bodily injury intentionally, caused injury through negligence using a potentially deadly weapon, or attempted to use physical intimidation and violence in order to have power over another. Grounds for conviction under simple assault can also include a defendant stabbing a legal officer with a hypodermic needle.

What is Aggravated Assault?

Aggravated assault is a situation where the defendant has caused serious bodily injury to another. The defendant should have also shown an indifference to human life. This could also be a situation in which the defendant attempts to or intentionally cause serious bodily injury to a teacher, police officer, or law enforcement agent.

Penalties and Sentences

Simple assault is usually regarded as a second degree misdemeanor. In a situation where the assault was carried out by an adult over the age of 21 against a child under the age of 12, it will be classed as a first degree misdemeanor, and will result in a penalty of up to 5 years in prison upon conviction. Aggravated assault is a felony of the first or second degree, and can result in prison time of up to 20 years.

Anyone who has been charged with assault should consult a criminal lawyer for legal advice and possible representation in court.  If you, a family member or friend has recently been charged with assult, please contact a criminal lawyer at the Quinn Law Firm for a free over-the-phone consultation. 

Source: FindLaw, "Pennsylvania Assault Laws," accessed July 21, 2017

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