Can You Go to Jail for Assault in Pennsylvania?

Assault is a serious crime in Pennsylvania, and even relatively minor assault charges can result in jail time. It’s important first to understand Pennsylvania’s legal definition of assault, what charges the levels of assault carry, and what other factors can influence the possibility of jail time.


What Is Simple Assault?

Pennsylvania defines simple assault as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person. Simple assault also occurs when someone negligently causes injury with a deadly weapon, or when they attempt or threaten to harm another person physically.

Under Pennsylvania law, simple assault is usually a misdemeanor of the second degree. However, it becomes a more serious misdemeanor of the first degree if the assault is against a child under 12 by an adult over 21. If the assault involves a mutual fight or scuffle, it’s a less serious misdemeanor of the third degree.

The penalties for simple assault vary based on the circumstances, reflecting the degree of the offense. Third-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. For a second-degree misdemeanor, the maximum penalty includes up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. For a first-degree misdemeanor, the penalty can increase to up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.


What Is Aggravated Assault?

Aggravated assault is a more severe form of assault than simple assault. This offense involves causing or attempting to cause serious bodily injury to another person, often with an indifference to human life. Aggravated assault also includes assaulting certain protected people, like police officers or teachers, even if the action does not result in serious injury.

Aggravated assault is usually a felony in Pennsylvania. The specific charges and penalties depend on the severity and circumstances of the offense. Typically, it’s a felony of the second degree, which can lead to a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. However, if the assault involves a police officer or other protected official, it becomes a felony of the first degree. This more serious offense is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.


How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help If You Face Assault Charges in Pennsylvania

If you’re facing assault charges in Pennsylvania, a seasoned defense attorney can make all the difference in your case. Here are some ways a lawyer can help you:

  • Investigating the charges against you and identifying useful evidence
  • Examining the prosecution’s evidence for weaknesses
  • Interviewing witnesses who can support your defense
  • Challenging the legality of any evidence obtained against you
  • Representing you at bail hearings to secure your release
  • Preparing and filing necessary legal documents on your behalf
  • Developing a defense strategy tailored to your specific case
  • Negotiating with prosecutors to reduce the charges or penalties you face
  • Seeking expert witnesses to testify in your defense
  • Representing you at trial and presenting your case effectively
  • Cross-examining prosecution witnesses to find inconsistencies
  • Highlighting mitigating factors that could lead to a lighter sentence
  • Preparing and submitting appeals, if necessary, after a conviction


Contact a Pennsylvania Defense Lawyer Now

Don’t let assault charges in Pennsylvania overwhelm you. At Chieppor & Egner, LLC, we understand the complexities of assault charges and have the experience to defend your rights effectively. Contact us now for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, where we’ll listen to your side of the story, provide professional advice, and strategize the best defense for you.

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