An assault in Pennsylvania can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Felony assault, commonly referred to as aggravated assault, is the infliction of or attempted infliction of serious bodily injury on another. Regardless of the nature of the assault charge, a dedicated Pennsylvania assault lawyer can help a person avoid a conviction if they have been accused of such a crime or if they believe an assault charge is pending.
If an assault involves the use of a deadly weapon or the victim is a public official or law enforcement member, conviction of such an offense can carry strict penalties. Misdemeanor assault, or simple assault, is most often associated with lesser injuries, but can still result in severe legal consequences.
This brief overview can provide enough information to understand why it is essential to hire a qualified Pennsylvania assault attorney who has the experience and knowledge to navigate the often confusing legal system.
An assault charge is filed when one person attempts to hurt or hurts another individual. Assaults can also occur in conjunction with other crimes and situations, including:
Assault can also include causing a victim to fear the possibility of experiencing physical harm. This can include pointing a toy gun at someone or making a fist in a menacing way which the victim interprets as the beginning of a punch. Battery allegations can be made if contact is made regardless of whether there was extensive harm or injury. Examples of situations in which people have been charged with battery can include spitting on a victim or swatting someone during an argument. A Pennsylvania assault lawyer can help build a defense tailored to the case’s fact-specific circumstances.
Assault charges become more serious when a weapon is involved and if the assault took place during the commission of another crime.
For a person to be convicted of aggravated assault, the prosecutor must convince the jury that a person acted in one of the following ways:
People act knowingly when they are aware of the consequences of their actions. This is often referred to as willful intent;
When people disregard the consequences of their actions, such behavior may be deemed reckless and criminally negligent. A person can be found to have acted recklessly if it is determined that a reasonable person in the same situation would have been aware of the risks associated with the conduct.
Homicide occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently causes the death of another person. In Pennsylvania, a homicide can include voluntary or involuntary manslaughter as well as murder.
When a person is charged with assault, from a seemingly simple misdemeanor to a serious felony, an experienced Pennsylvania assault attorney can stand by their side and work tirelessly on a person’s behalf. Call for a free consultation.