In the state of Pennsylvania, there are two categories of assault.
What are these categories and what kind of penalties and sentencing can a defendant convicted of this crime expect?
Simple assault refers to intentionally or recklessly trying to injure another person, to do so with a deadly weapon or to use “physical menace” to intimidate someone with bodily injury. Simple assault is also defined as penetrating a law enforcement officer with a hypodermic needle.
The crime of aggravated assault includes:
- Showing extreme indifference to human life while causing bodily injury
- Causing or attempting to cause serious injury to a police officer, firefighter, sheriff, enforcement officer, parole officer or correctional officer
- Intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious bodily harm to a teacher working at a school
- Using a stun gun or noxious gas to incapacitate a city or state official while performing their duties
Misdemeanor versus felony
Ordinarily, simple assault is a misdemeanor in the second degree with up to a year in prison. However, if an adult assaults a child younger than 12, the penalty is up to five years behind bars. Aggravated assault is a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison.
Defenses for assault
According to Title 18, Chapter 27 of the Pennsylvania Statutes, there are several possible defenses for an assault. These include lack of intent to harm, self-defense and lack of knowledge, among others. Remember that a prosecutor must prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney will build a defense strategy that will provide the best possible outcome for your case.