Chester County Aggravated Assault Lawyers
According to one study, Snyder County is the county in Pennsylvania with the highest number of aggravated assaults—about 692 per year—while Philadelphia is the city with the highest number of aggravated assaults. Assault in the state of Pennsylvania can be a misdemeanor or a felony offense. When a person inflicts or attempts to inflict a physical injury on another person, he or she has committed assault. Aggravated assault is also known as felony assault, and involves the infliction of serious bodily injury on another person, or an attempt to inflict serious bodily injury on another person. There are also certain protected public officials and employees under Pennsylvania aggravated assault laws, and the use of a deadly weapon can change assault charges to aggravated assault charges. Aggravated assault usually involves an extreme indifference to human life, and the assault must be perpetrated intentionally, knowingly or recklessly.
West Chester Aggravated Assault Lawyer
Our dedicated team of attorneys will fight for you if you face aggravated assault charges. With such serious charges with such grave consequences, you’ll want more than just one West Chester aggravated assault lawyer and more than just one hope for a defense. Our team has more than 40 years of collective experience, experience that helps us build the strongest defense possible for you. Call us today at (610) 692-8700.
Our lawyers can handle aggravated assault charges throughout the West Chester area, with offices in West Chester, Philadelphia, Malvern, Radnor, Springfield, King of Prussia, Lancaster, Kennett Square and Plymouth Meeting. We represent clients throughout Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Lancaster Counties.
Why You Must Have an Experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney to Defend Your Charges of Aggravated Assault
Aggravated Assault is an extremely serious charge in the state of Pennsylvania, with extremely serious penalties. If you have been charged with aggravated assault, your very first response should be to speak to an attorney at the Ciccarelli Law Offices. We will give your charges the serious response they deserve, looking at the circumstances of your arrest from every angle, and determining the very best defense for you. Our attorneys have a goal of ensuring you suffer the least amount of consequences for your charges of aggravated assault. We understand that people make mistakes, and that one mistake should not alter your life forever. Give your aggravated assault charges the serious attention they deserve, and the attorneys at the Ciccarelli Law Offices will do the same.
How is “Intentionally, Knowingly or Recklessly” Proven?
To knowingly commit an offense, you must have been aware of the consequences of your actions, while acting recklessly means you consciously land purposefully disregarded the consequences of your act. If a reasonable person would have understood the potential consequences of the act, under the same circumstances you faced, then your behavior could be deemed reckless. Intentionally committing the offense of aggravated assault means you had little regard for whether you harmed another human being.
What Makes an Assault an Aggravated Assault?
Injuries must be more severe for aggravated assault charges. You may wonder how serious bodily injury is determined. Generally speaking, any type of bodily injury which results in serious, permanent loss, disfigurement or impairment is considered serious bodily injury. Any action which creates a significant risk of death is also considered serious bodily injury.
When your actions could conceivably result in death or serious injury, you have shown extreme indifference to another human being’s life. Put another way, a critical component of aggravated assault as compared to simple assault is malice—recklessness of consequences, cruelty, or flat out wickedness. It is not required that specific intent to injure a specific person be shown in the state of Pennsylvania to charge aggravated assault.
The use of a deadly weapon can change a simple assault into an aggravated assault, even if the weapon was not actually used. Most people think of a deadly weapon only as a firearm, however any weapon which is capable of causing death or serious injury is considered a deadly weapon. Guns, of course are considered deadly weapons, along with knives, brass knuckles, a baseball bat, a broken bottle, or any other item which could be used as a deadly weapon.
Protection of Certain Public Officials and Employees Under Pennsylvania Aggravated Assault Laws
Simple assault charges may also be elevated to aggravated assault charges if the person you assaulted is in the class of public officials and employees who are entitled to protection under Pennsylvania law. Specifically, these public officials and employees include:
- Private detectives
- Parole officers
- Correctional officers
- Teachers (public and private schools)
- School employees (public and private schools)
- School board members (public and private schools)
- Police officers
- Law enforcement officers
- EMS employees
- Public defenders
- Attorneys General
- District Attorneys
- State officials
- State legislators
- Public utility employees
- Department of Environmental Protection employees
- County children’s service agency employees
A simple assault against any of the above public officials or employees may be elevated to aggravated assault charges in the following situations:
- If gas or an incapacitation device such as a TASER is used against the person.
- If you attempt to place a public official or employee in fear of imminent harm by using physical “menace.”
- If you cause or attempt to cause bodily injury while the protected person is performing his or her public duties or is working.
- If you knowingly, recklessly or intentionally cause or attempt to cause serious bodily injury while the protected person is performing his or her public duties or is working.
Penalties Associated with Aggravated Assault
Your specific penalties for a conviction of aggravated assault will depend on the degree of your conviction—whether a first or second-degree felony. If you are convicted of second-degree aggravated assault, (no serious bodily injury involved) and you could face up to ten years in prison, and a fine as large as $25,000. Assault With a Deadly Weapon Causing Bodily Injury is also a second-degree felony, and, if convicted, you could face up to ten years in prison, and a fine as large as $25,000. If you caused serious bodily injury to another person, or if you assaulted a public official or employee listed above, then you will face a first-degree felony, and, if convicted, could face up to 20 years in prison, and a fine as large as $25,000.
Information on Aggravated Assault in Chester County
- Aggravated Assault Charges in Pennsylvania
- Penalties for Aggravated Assault
- Defenses to Aggravated Assault
Aggravated Assault Charges in Pennsylvania
Assault, under Commonwealth of Pennsylvania law, means to intentionally, knowingly or reckless cause or attempt to cause bodily injury. It could also mean to intentionally put another person in fear of imminent bodily injury.
Aggravated assault has the same elements, but instead of just bodily injury, it is causing or attempting to cause serious bodily injury (18 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 2702). “Serious bodily injury” means an injury that involves a risk of death or one that causes permanent disfigurement or impairment.
A simple assault can become aggravated assault if the victim is one of several public servants, including police officers, firefighters, sheriff’s deputies, constables, federal or state law enforcement agents, teachers, judges or others listed in the law.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault
Aggravated assault is a second degree felony if there was no actual serious bodily injury caused, or if the public servant who was a victim was not a police officer. A second degree felony will result in up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
However, if there was serious bodily injury caused or the victim was a police officer, then it is a first degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in jail and a fine of $25,000.
Additionally, while an assault looks bad on your criminal record, an aggravated assault looks much darker and more dangerous. An aggravated assault conviction does not look like the result of a scuffle. It looks like the work of an unstable person, someone you wouldn’t want working for your company or living in your apartment complex.
Defenses to Aggravated Assault
Prosecutors must always prove every element of their charge beyond a reasonable doubt. In an aggravated assault charge, that means proving that there was serious bodily harm and that the harm was cause intentionally, or that there was intent for serious bodily harm.
Your West Chester violent crime attorney can show the holes in the case by calling the prosecution’s evidence to question and vigorously cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses. If they cannot convince the jury that there is no reasonable doubt, they must acquit you of the charges. Prosecutors may also decide to drop your charges or reduce them to misdemeanor assault when they know they don’t have enough evidence.
Defending Against Aggravated Assault Charges in Chester County
Our team of experienced lawyers will fight for you. A West Chester aggravated assault attorney from Ciccarelli Law Offices can challenge the prosecution’s evidence and seek to have your charges reduced or dismissed, and can argue your case to the jury. We represent the accused throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Exton, Coatesville, Lancaster, Media, Phoenixville and Downingtown. Call us today at (610) 692-8700 for a free consultation.
Getting the Help You Need from the Ciccarelli Law Offices
A conviction for aggravated assault could result in your spending ten to twenty years in prison, completely derailing your life and your future. Consequences for a conviction of aggravated assault can vary greatly, based on the circumstances surrounding your charges, whether or not you have prior criminal convictions, and even the attitude of the prosecutor and judge. An experienced criminal defense attorney from the Ciccarelli Law Offices will be familiar with these judges and prosecutors, and will know how they are likely to respond. We will, of course, do our best to have your charges dismissed, but if that is not possible, we will negotiate for lower charges. We want to help you through this difficult time, and will zealously represent you. At Ciccarelli Law Offices, success is our mission—we are driven to serve and ready to fight. Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610)-692-8700.