Assault Crimes

Simple Assault – 18 Pa.C.S.A. §2701

An individual is guilty of Simple Assault if he attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another. This is typical crime individuals envision when they think of an assault. Examples of this type of assault arise from domestic disputes, bar fights and other physical confrontations. Simple Assault would have been considered a Battery under the common law.

An individual may also be convicted of Simple Assault when he attempts “by physical menace” to put another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. For instance, if an individual cocks back his fist and threatens to strike the victim or do physical harm, then actual bodily harm is not required to sustain a conviction for Simple Assault.

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the crime of Simple Assault can be graded as a Misdemeanor of the Third Degree, a Misdemeanor of the Second Degree, or a Misdemeanor of the First Degree. The maximum penalties range from one (1) year of incarceration to five (5) years of incarceration.

Aggravated Assault – 18 Pa.C.S.A. §2702

An individual is guilty of an Aggravated Assault if he:

  • attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life;
  • attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to certain protected individuals enumerated by this statute. For instance – police officers, firefighters, child protective services workers, district attorneys and judicial officers;
  • attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the crime of Aggravated Assault is graded as either a Felony of the Second Degree or a Felony of the First Degree. The maximum penalties range from ten (10) years of incarceration to twenty (20) years of incarceration.

Defenses to Assault Crimes

When faced with criminal assault charges, there are many defense avenues available to the accused. The affirmative defenses of self-defense, defense of another and/or justification may be available; however, if these defenses are not asserted properly or in a timely manner, then they may be forfeited by the accused. As such, it is imperative to secure competent, knowledgeable, and experienced counsel as soon as possible in order to preserve your rights and interests.