What are the Different Types of Assault Charges in Pennsylvania?

man in handcuffs facing assault charge

Physical altercations can happen frequently. In some cases, maybe an argument got out of control and led to a fight, sometimes you may need to defend yourself against someone else, or the event was entirely accidental. Whatever the case may be, you’ve been charged with assault. However, not everyone charged with assault is charged with the same crime. In Pennsylvania, there are two types of assault charges – simple and aggravated.

Understanding the distinction between the two types of assault is extremely important, as the consequences vary greatly.

Simple Assault

In Pennsylvania, an assault is considered a simple assault if someone does the following:

  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to someone else or attempts to.
  • Uses a deadly weapon to negligently cause bodily injury to someone else.
  • Attempts to make someone else fear imminent serious bodily injury using physical menace.
  • Conceals a hypodermic needle and intentionally or knowingly penetrates a law enforcement officer or an officer or employee at an institution such as a county jail or mental hospital during an arrest or search.

Simple assaults are considered misdemeanors. A simple assault is a misdemeanor of the second degree, except for two exceptions. If the fight is entered into by mutual consent, it’s considered a misdemeanor of the third degree. If someone over the age of 18 assaults a child under the age of 12, it’s considered a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Aggravated Assault

Unlike simple assault, aggravated assault is considered a felony. An aggravated assault is a felony of the first degree if someone attempts to or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly does the following:

  • Causes serious bodily injury to someone else or causes the injury in a way that shows extreme indifference to the value of human life.
  • Causes serious bodily injury to certain officers, agents, or employees, such as law enforcement, firefighters, and school teachers, while they’re performing their job duties.
  • Causes serious bodily injury to a child under the age of 13 if the person causing the injury is 18 or older.

An aggravated assault is considered a felony of the second degree if a person attempts to or intentionally or knowingly does the following:

  • Causes bodily injury to certain officers, agents, and employees in the performance of duty.
  • Uses a deadly weapon to cause bodily injury to someone else.
  • Causes bodily injury to teaching staff members, school board members, or other employees at elementary or secondary schools while they’re working or due to their employment with the school.
  • Causes bodily injury to a child under the age of 13 if the person causing the injury is over the age of 18.

A person can also be charged with a felony of the second degree for:

  • Using physical menace to attempt to make certain officers, agents, or employees fear imminent serious bodily injury while performing their job duties.
  • Using tear or noxious gas or an electric or electronic incapacitation device against certain officers, agents, or employees while performing their job duties.

Hire an Assault Defense Attorney Today

It doesn’t matter which type of assault you’ve been charged with – you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Any type of assault charge can significantly impact your life and future. At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, our criminal defense attorneys know how complicated assault charges can be.

Contact us today if you’ve been charged with these types of assault.

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