In Pennsylvania, you can be charged with assault even if you do not actually hurt someone. A fight that gets out of hand or an accusation of threatening behavior can have a major impact on your life and leave you with a criminal record. To protect yourself, you need to be smart about how you respond to these assault charges. A Montgomery County assault lawyer can help you explore your options to negotiate a plea deal or avoid conviction.
Title 18 Chapter 27 of the Pennsylvania Code defines assault offenses. These offenses range from simple to aggravated assault, and also include special situations like assaulting a law enforcement officer or assault by a prisoner while he is incarcerated. For more information on specific assault charges and their accompanying penalties contact a Montgomery County Assault Lawyer.
Pennsylvania Code Section 2701 defines simple assault to include:
Aggravated assault under Code Section 2702 is defined as causing not just bodily injury, but serious bodily injury in such a way that manifests “extreme indifference” to the value of human life. Committing assault against certain people – like public transportation employees, kids under age 6, teachers or school officials, or police officers – is also an example of aggravated assault, as is causing or trying to cause bodily injury using a deadly weapon.
A Montgomery County assault lawyer can help you to understand the charges you are facing. In many cases, an attorney can help you to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor to charge you with a lesser offense, like simple assault instead of aggravated assault. However, the right course of action depends upon your circumstances and you should speak with a assault attorney in Montgomery County about your particular case.
Simple assault is generally charged as a second-degree misdemeanor unless the assault occurred in a fight or was committed by an adult against a child under 12.
If your simple assault charges arise out of a fight, you will be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor. If you are accused of assaulting a child, you will face first degree misdemeanor charges. A third-degree misdemeanor can result in a fine up to $2,000 and up to one-year incarceration. A second degree misdemeanor results in the potential for two years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
Aggravated assault, on the other hand, is charged as a first or a second degree felony. A first degree felony carries the potential for 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine while conviction for a second degree felony can result in 10 years imprisonment.
Negotiating a plea bargain is just one way in which a Montgomery County assault lawyer could help you when you are faced with assault charges. You can also try to get charges dropped by arguing insufficient evidence or keeping illegally-obtained evidence from being used.
If your case proceeds to court, there are defenses to assault charges including mistaken identity, lack of intent, self-defense, or defense of others.
Your Montgomery County assault lawyer will help you to understand the options you have and can advocate for you as you respond to charges. Call today to learn more.