Under the Pennsylvania Criminal Code, there are two general types of Assault, Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault. Aggravated Assault is the more serious of the two types and carries the strictest penalties. The difference between the two types of assault is that Aggravates Assault requires you to cause serious bodily injury. You may also be found guilty of Aggravated Assault if you attack a public officer, employee, or agent. Because Aggravated Assault is a felony, if is very important for you, or a loved one, to call my office as soon as possible after being charged.
What is Aggravated Assault
The full definition of Aggravated Assault may be found at 18 PACS 2702. The definition provides a long list of actions under which you may be charged. If the District Attorney is able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you committed any of the following acts, you may be found guilty of Aggravated Assault:
- You attempted to cause, or did cause, serious bodily injury to another showing extreme indifference to the value of human life;
- You attempted to cause, or did cause, seriously bodily injury to any public officer, employee, agent, agency, or company engaged in public transportation, while in the performance of duty;
- You attempted to cause, or did cause, bodily injury to any other officer, employee, or agent while in the performance of duty;
- You attempted to cause, or did cause, bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
- You attempted to cause, or did cause, bodily injury to any school employee, board member, or other agent for the school while that person is on duty, or because of his/her relationship with the school;
- You threatened any public officer, employee, or agent with serious bodily injury while in performance of duty; or
- You used any noxious gas or incapacitating device against a public officer, employee, or agent while acting in the scope of his/her employment.
Defenses Against Aggravated Assault
Once you are charged with the crime of Aggravated Assault, you may have a few defenses depending on the facts surrounding your charges. Your first defense may be that you simply did not do it. This defense is heavily dependent on the facts. But, the District Attorney must prove one or more of the actions listed above beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know how to make the District Attorney’s job as difficult as possible.
Second, the Pennsylvania Criminal Code provides with the defense of self-defense. This defense does not exist if you are charged with Aggravated Assault against a public officer. But if you are able to show that you were defending yourself against an attacker, then you may be found innocent of Aggravated Assault.
Sentencing for Aggravated Assault
If you are charged and found guilty of Aggravated Assault, you are looking at a Felony sentence. First, if you are guilty of Aggravated Assault of numbers 1 or 2 listed above, you will be guilty of a Felony of the first degree. This is the most serious grading for a crime. If you are charged and found guilty of any of the other actions listed above, you will be guilty of a Felony in the second degree.
The seriousness of the crime of Aggravated Assault makes it very important for you to contact my office as soon as possible. If the facts surrounding your charges provide a good defense, we must begin that defense immediately. If your facts are not helpful for a defense, it is necessary for me to begin working with the District Attorney to minimize the impact of any conviction or plea agreement as much as possible. Give my office a call at (412) 209-0657 for a no-obligation consultation.