Almost any type of altercation that becomes physical can meet the definitions of simple assault, regardless of the parties and the relationship between them. In any of the circumstances, assault allegations are taken extremely seriously by the prosecutors and the courts because it involves physical menace. In Chester County specifically, courts sentence individuals convicted of assault to longer periods of incarceration and/or probation with stipulations that go far above average sentencing. Such stipulations often include anger management classes, parenting classes, marital classes, and/or general drug and alcohol classes depending on the factors involved in the assault. Compounded against such potential stipulations and additional incarceration sentences or probationary periods, an assault conviction holds significant repercussions for an individual’s personal life thereby making it important a Chester County assault lawyer is contacted as soon as possible.
Under Pennsylvania law, which is the law of the land in Chester County, an assault is characterized under two sections of the criminal crimes codes of Pennsylvania, Section 18-2701, for simple assault misdemeanor charges and Section 18-2702, for felony assault charges.
Examples of simple assault misdemeanor charges include:
In contrast, a felony in the first degree is an assault that causes serious bodily injury and/or an attempt to cause serious bodily injury and/or death. In such circumstances, an assault may be—and usually is—charged as a first degree aggravated assault felony. Aggravated assaults can also be charged as felonies in the second degree.
Police officers, district attorneys, judges, public defenders, and other government officials are protected and as such, any assault towards an individual in one of these groups constitutes a felony of the second degree. Thereby, committing even a simple assault against a police officer is often characterized by statute as a second degree aggravated assault felony and warrants the attention of an assault lawyer in Chester County.
These types of assault charges involve bodily injury which has been caused by the use of a deadly weapon. For example, if the victim is hit by a baseball bat, a knife is used, or even a firearm, those are second-degree assault charges.
Additionally, second-degree assault charges often refer to protected classes. That is, any sort of assaultive behavior towards police, government agents, judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys can be graded as felonies of the second degree because they are protected classes. Any kind of behavior, whether there’s bodily injury or not, are often treated as felonies of the second degree because they are protected classes.
In more serious crimes where a weapon is used and causes injury or attempts to cause injury by, for example, firing a firearm, felonies of the first degree are charged and sentences are tripled.
In the alternative, in cases involving non-protected classes where injuries are not so severe, misdemeanors can be charged or perhaps a resolution reached where a person ultimately will not be charged with a felony of the second degree or a second-degree assault.
If police arrive at a scene in which a person seems to have been assaulted, the police will often take a statement and, in many cases, perceive the person who reported the incident as the victim and the other individual as the assailant. In almost all domestic related assault cases, the police are required to make an arrest. As a result, police will arrest any alleged perpetrator of domestic abuse, even if charges aren’t warranted.
Therefore, in cases in which the police are limited as to the amount of investigation they conduct, it is the job of an experienced Chester County assault lawyer to make sure all alleged facts and evidence are corrected. An experienced assault attorney can help an accused defendant to bring forth all defenses available to him or her and to put together all types of witnesses and/or investigative materials that could lead to an acquittal.
Assault cases often involve two or more individuals who have engaged in some form of unlawful behavior, however, a complaint is filed often after the first party reaches out to the police and/or prosecutors. This first part also has the first opportunity to present a version of the events and to shape the narrative of the case. Therefore, it is important that any individual who has been charged with assault in Chester County has an attorney working on his or her part to present his or her side of the evidence and to fight any allegations that have been made.
It is particularly important to find an assault attorney in Chester County who knows the local authorities and has a reputation for defending individuals in an honest and thorough fashion. This knowledge and reputation can often help the attorney get assault charges dismissed or minimized, even prior to such charges being filed. An individual who contacts an attorney as soon as possible only increases his or her chance of obtaining a positive outcome.