In Bucks County, the crime of simple assault is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree, misdemeanor of the second degree, or misdemeanor of the third degree. Simple assault includes committing some sort of assault that causes a more minor injury. Threats that lead to the potential for bodily injury may also be charged as simple assault. Simple assault is also defined as assaultive behavior or injury to a protected class, such as a child or elderly individual. In those cases, when an assault of this nature occurs to a person who cannot protect themselves, the legislature has indicated that the crime is graded as a misdemeanor in the first degree.
When simple assault is graded as a misdemeanor in the second degree, it involves individuals who are equally or may equally be at fault and/or of equal competence, for example, two adults or two juveniles who were engaged in a mutual fight. Once a defense of mutual fight is raised, a simple assault can be graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree. That is, when an individual is involved in mutual fights which both parties then acquiesce to, the result is a misdemeanor of the third degree.
It is important to combat these charges as soon as possible with the help of a skilled Bucks County simple assault lawyer. An experienced defense lawyer is essential in helping build a defense for a positive outcome in an assault case.
In Bucks County, the penalties for a conviction for simple assault can range anywhere from a diversionary program, to probation, to a relatively light incarceration sentence. Because simple assault is graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree, it removes the potential for long incarceration sentences.
For a misdemeanor of the second degree, a person faces a maximum penalty of two and one-half to five years in custody and a $5,000.00 fine. However, in most cases, such a sentence would only be the maximum sentence, and it is not likely that would occur. It is extremely important when charged with any sort of assaultive behavior to hire a confident Bucks County simple assault attorney who might able to reduce such charges from a felony to a misdemeanor in the second degree.
Additionally, more severe charges and more severe penalties can arise when a person is convicted of a misdemeanor of the first degree, because in those cases, an individual can only be convicted of such a crime when the victim is a child and/or an elderly individual. Thus, the courts are stricter with these types of convictions. Lastly, most cases will end in a diversionary program, such as ARD, when an individual is charged with a misdemeanor of the third degree.
In cases involving a mutual fight between the parties the victim or the aggressor can be charged with a misdemeanor of the third degree. Neither individual, with the right experienced Bucks County simple assault attorney on their side, is likely to face much more than a diversionary program.
In Bucks County, simple assault cases begin at the district court level. At the district court level, an individual can be arraigned, have bail set and have their preliminary hearing before a magisterial district court. At that level, the Commonwealth or the District Attorney’s Office has the burden to show it is more likely than not a crime has occurred and more likely than not it had some connection to the individual being charged.
In Bucks County, the county seat exists in Doylestown. In Doylestown, the Court of Common Pleas sits and will hear a case from beginning to end. Before a Court of Common Pleas judge in Pennsylvania, a matter can be heard as a bench trial or a jury trial. Depending on the resolution of such trial, an individual can receive as minor a sentence as probation or as great a sentence as incarceration. In order to minimize the harm of the offense and build as strong a defense as possible, a Bucks County simple assault attorney should be consulted.
An individual facing misdemeanor assault charges should always be concerned because of the mere fact that any conviction for a misdemeanor or above cannot be expunged or taken off a person’s record in Pennsylvania. The only exception is the very burdensome parting process, which is very unlikely to occur.
Additionally, any conviction for simple assault even graded as a misdemeanor of first, second, or third degree can affect the person’s employment or future employment; that is, most public agencies, hospitals, and government agencies will not accept an individual with a simple assault conviction on their record.
Therefore, it is very important that a person alleged to have committed even a simple assault misdemeanor of the first, second, or third degree obtain the services of an experienced Bucks County simple assault lawyer. Only then can a person be assured that their rights are being protected and everything is being done to secure their future.