Under the Pennsylvania Criminal Code, there are two types of Assault charges: Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault. Generally speaking, Assault involves physically striking another person. However, in Pennsylvania, it also involves threats to harm someone (commonly known in other states as “Battery”).
What is Simple Assault
The Pennsylvania Criminal Code, at 18 PACS 2701, defines Simple Assault as:
- An attempt to cause, or to actually cause, bodily injury to another;
- Negligently causing bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
- An attempt to cause fear in another person of imminent serious bodily injury.
The definition is pretty simple. If you are in a fight and you punch someone in the nose, you may be found guilty of Simple Assault. Or, if you pull out a knife and threaten to stab someone, you may be found guilty of Simple Assault.
Defending Against Simple Assault
You always have the defense that you did not do it. However, depending on the facts of your case, this defense may or may not be very valid. Luckily, Pennsylvania Law provides you with a specific defense to any violent crimes. As long as your actions can support the defense, you may argue that you acted in self-defense. You are permitted to defend yourself against bodily harm as long as you use force equal to the force of your attacker. In other words, you cannot defend yourself with a gun if someone attacks you by throwing punches.
Sentencing for Simple Assault
If you are found guilty of Simple Assault, you will be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree. However, if you were involved in a random “mutual” fight, then your sentence is lowered to a misdemeanor of the third degree. Finally, if you are over the age of 21, and you are found guilty of Simple Assault of someone under the age of 12, you will be sentenced to a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Regardless of the severity of your sentence, if you are found guilty of Simple Assault, you are looking at some serious jail time and fines. Therefore, you must contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your case may take a lot of time and effort to defend. You do not want to risk your rights waiting until the last minute to hire a professional. Give my office a call at (412) 209-0657 so that I may begin defending you and your rights from the beginning.