Assault

Legal charges involving assault include aggravated assault, domestic assault and simple assault. The intent of the accused is a significant factor that will impact the overall legal outcome.

Aggravated Assault Defined: an offender attempts or has intent to cause serious harm to another person. Attacking a person who is vulnerable can lead to higher charges

Aggravated Assault Charges

  • First degree aggravated assault felonies are typically charged if:
    • An officer or agent of the law is involved
    • Harm is inflicted on an employee associated with the courts or prison system while they are actively on duty
  • Second degree aggravated assault can be a felony charge if:
    • An offender has intent to harm someone
    • An offender attempts to harm or harass an on duty school official
    • An offender attempts to use any incapacitation methods against an on duty school official

General Sentencing Guidelines for Aggravated Assault

  • A first degree aggravated assault felony can bring up to 20 years in prison
  • A second degree aggravated assault felony can bring up to 10 years in prison
  • An offender who is found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the offense will encounter more complex charges
  • Self-defense can be argued in certain aggravated assault cases

Domestic Assault Defined

When an assault involves a family member or individuals in the same household, domestic assault charges typically apply.

Domestic Assault Charges

  • Offenders can be charged for executed actions as well as intent or perceived threat by those involved
  • The level of injury generated during a domestic assault has implications on the charges, often being the deciding factor between a misdemeanor and a felony

Domestic Assault General Sentencing Guidelines

If an offender is found guilty of domestic violence they can face the following:

  • Prison time
  • Loss of the rights, including to own a firearm
  • Placed under a specific protection court order for up to three years which will forbid contact with the alleged victim
  • Anger management classes
  • Court ordered counseling
  • Community service obligations

It is also important to know that even if the claim against the offender is untrue, a domestic assault call to a residence will still generally require that the accused spend at least one night in jail.

Simple Assault Defined

A simple assault charge is issued if an offender intentionally causes harm or injury to another person. This can include the completion of an act of harm or the attempt to injure someone else. Intimidation, acts of intimidation or intent to instill fear are all forms of simple assault.

General Degrees and Levels of Simple Assault Charges

  • Simple assault is typically charged as a misdemeanor of the second degree
  • Elevation to a misdemeanor of the first degree for simple assault will occur if the victim is under the age of 12 and the offender is over the age of 21
  • An offender can claim self-defense when the weapon an offender used has the same force as the one being used against the offender
  • If a mutual fight is the source of the assault accusations with two or more parties involved, a simple assault can become a misdemeanor of the third degree

General Sentencing Guidelines for Simple Assault

  • First degree simple assault misdemeanors can bring up to five years in prison
  • Second degree simple assault misdemeanors can bring up to two years in prison
  • Third degree simple assault misdemeanors can bring up to one year in prison

All sentences and charges can be impacted by prior offenses or complexity added if more than one accusation is associated with the offense.

Attorney Timothy Woodward has the experience you need to guide you throughout the legal process. With over 20 years of experience in the State of Pennsylvania while pursuing both state and federal criminal cases, Attorney Woodward brings the legal advice you need to help seek the best possible outcome for your case. For a consultation, please contact his office at (610) 279-1101 or through email.