Our Scranton law firm has years of experience defending clients facing serious criminal charges such as assault and battery or domestic violence. If you are convicted of even the lowest level assault charge, you may spend time in prison. That’s why it’s critical to get advice immediately from an experienced Pennsylvania assault lawyer.
At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, our knowledgeable legal team has years of experience handling such complicated cases in Scranton, Dunmore, Kingston, Carbondale and other communities throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. We understand Pennsylvania’s assault and battery laws and know how to build a strong legal case.
Don’t wait to contact our Scranton law firm if you have been charged with domestic violence or assault and battery. The sooner we can start researching your case, the sooner we can help you get your life back on track. Many people charged with serious crimes don’t realize the government’s case may not be as strong as the police and prosecutors say it is. It takes a knowledgeable attorney to sort through the facts and find the errors that can result in dismissal of charges or an acquittal.
What are Different Types of Assault and Battery and Domestic Violence Charges?
There are several different types of charges in Pennsylvania involving assault and battery. Some of these charges are classified as a misdemeanor, while others are considered a felony. These charges include:
- Simple assault – Intentionally or knowingly harming someone or attempting to cause bodily injury.
- Aggravated assault – More serious form of assault which results in serious bodily harm, often involving a deadly weapon
In each instance, each charge can be classified as one of three ways – first-degree assault, second-degree assault or third-degree assault. First-degree charges – the most serious charges – are classified as felonies. Second-degree assault charges are also often considered as felony charges, while third-degree assault is a misdemeanor.
As for domestic violence, Pennsylvania does not have separate laws for such criminal charges. Rather, Pennsylvania charges people based on existing assault and battery laws on a case-by-case basis.
What is the difference between simple assault and aggravated assault?
The two charges might seem similar, but these charges have many distinct differences in Pennsylvania. The main difference is the intention. Did the person charged intend to cause minor harm or serious bodily injury?
This might seem like a subtle distinction. But there are serious consequences in Pennsylvania for people who are accused of intending to cause serious harm or even death. In such cases, the suspect is often charged with aggravated assault, which is a felony in Pennsylvania. In contrast, simple assault in Pennsylvania is classified as a misdemeanor.
An experienced attorney can analyze your case to make sure you have been correctly charged with assault. This might seem like a minor issue. But it could mean the difference between spending several months or several years behind bars.
In addition, we can protect the rights of those accused of these serious charges. Often, people are bullied into taking plea deals when they are led to believe the case against them is strong. In reality, experienced assault and battery defense attorneys in Pennsylvania often can find problems with the evidence against the accused individual.
What is the penalty for assault and battery in Pennsylvania?
The penalties for an assault and battery conviction in Pennsylvania vary widely. Even within each kind of charge, the penalties can vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case. The penalties for the following charges often include:
Simple assault in the third degree (Misdemeanor)
- Example of charge – group bar fight
- Penalty for conviction – Up to 1 year in prison
Simple assault in the second degree (Misdemeanor)
- Example – Assaulting a person
- Penalty – Up to 2 years in prison
Simple assault in the first degree (Misdemeanor)
- Example – Assaulting a child under 12 years old
- Penalty – Up to 5 years in prison
Aggravated assault in the second degree (Felony)
- Example – Severely assaulting another person
- Penalty – Up to 10 years in prison
Aggravated assault in the first degree (Felony)
- Example – Severely assaulting a police officer or firefighter
- Penalty – Up to 20 years in prison
What is the Penalty for a Domestic Violence Conviction?
The penalties for a domestic violence conviction in Pennsylvania can vary widely. In some cases, the court will order probation or anger management courses. But if the victim sustained permanent, severe injuries and the defendant knowingly intended to cause serious harm, the charge could be aggravated assault, which carries a penalty of up to 10 to 20 years depending on the circumstances of the case.
The penalties are often more severe in domestic violence cases if the defendant has violated a restraining order or a similar court order. The location of the crime (was it in a person’s house?) and other extenuating circumstances (was this a second or subsequent offense?) can also make a difference.
You can learn more about how Pennsylvania’s legal system handles domestic violence cases, particularly cases involving family members, by reviewing Pennsylvania’s Domestic Violence Statute, which can be found in Pennsylvania Statutes, Title 23, Sections 6102 and 6113.
“How can Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano help me with my case?”
Assault cases can be complicated. Your case will likely come down to your word versus someone else’s testimony. Don’t simply assume that everything will work out in your favor, even if you did nothing wrong or were simply defending yourself. Contact us. We can help.
Remember, police and prosecutors may have made mistakes in building a case against you. Sometimes, evidence is collected illegally. Sometimes, police conduct searches without obtaining warrants.
Before you accept a plea or try to explain your case to law enforcement, talk to us. When the stakes are high, you need the help of a knowledgeable attorney.