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Plenty of Pennsylvanians have seen their fair share of brawls. One incident could lead to another until the police show up to arrest one or both of the fighters. According to the FBI, Pennsylvania had over 20,000 aggravated assault cases in 2016, which was the 8th highest amount in the nation. While it may not have one of the highest rates due to the state’s large population, it does still demonstrate that a significant amount of people face aggravated assault charges annually.

One major factor in aggravated assault cases is where the attack ultimately took place. This is very important information due to how much surrounding evidence can prove the defendant’s innocence or guilt or how much the setting would ultimately influence the attack. Those facing potential charges need to keep these in mind when preparing their defense.

Bars

This tends to be the first location most people think of when it comes to these charges. Bars provide plenty of alcohol to visitors that ultimately misuse it and make others suffer the consequences. Sometimes the situation worsens if the police show up or were already having a few drinks at the place. Near the end of last year, four motorcyclists were arrested after fighting undercover Pittsburgh detectives at the local bar.

Depending on the circumstances, intoxication can make the case easier or more difficult to determine. You can’t use voluntary intoxication as a defense for your actions, but it might turn out differently if the court determines that the victim was also drunk. In the previously mentioned motorcyclist incident, the FBI is investigating the matter because video evidence may hint that the officers also got drunk and instigated the fight instead.

The road

Road rage is more common in Pennsylvania than more residents realize. Studies show that the state has seen a large increase in gun-related road rage incidents in the last decade. Police and psychologists blame this surge on increasingly congested highways, busy schedules and how more people are accepting aggressive driving as acceptable behavior.

People involved in roadside aggravated assault incidents could see additional vehicle charges based upon what transpired. It also becomes more of a difficult case for both the prosecution and defense since there aren’t as many witnesses and it isn’t in an enclosed space.

Neighborhoods

Pennsylvania courts decide on whether it is a simple or aggravated assault based on who was injured, the defendant’s behavior and the involvement of a weapon. Charges on assaulting an officer are more likely to happen at a bar or on the side of a street, but for some, the danger might be closer to home.

Houses are where emotions can run wild and where the defendant would have the closest access to their weapons. If the victim ends up being a family member or a neighbor, the court would have an easier time connecting a motivation to the crime. Even if there aren’t nearly as many witnesses here, one house investigation could be all the court needs to determine your guilt.

You could spend years in prison if the court finds you guilty of aggravated assault in Pennsylvania. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you make sure that the court hears your voice and perspective on the matter.