Chester County Simple Assault Attorney
Simple Assault in Pennsylvania
Any criminal conviction can lead to negative, far-reaching consequences to your life and your future, and a conviction for assault—even simple assault—is no different. In the past, an argument could turn into a few punches thrown, then afterwards, those involved would shake hands and move on. Today, it is not so simple. If an argument becomes physical—even mildly physical—one or both parties could be charged with simple assault, under Section 2701 of the Pennsylvania code. Simple assault occurs when:
- A person “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” causes bodily injury to another, or attempts to cause bodily injury to another person.
- A person causes bodily injury to another in a negligent manner, with a deadly weapon.
- A person attempts to place another person in fear for their safety through “physical menace.”
You could be charged with simple assault whether you injure another person or not. As an example, suppose you grab a knife and try to stab someone—but you miss. Even though you didn’t injure the person, you have still committed simple assault.
The Charges You Could Face for Simple Assault
If you are over the age of 18, and your alleged victim is under the age of 12, you could be charged with a first-degree felony for the crime of simple assault. Otherwise, you are likely to be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor for the crime of simple assault unless you and another person engaged in a physical fight by mutual consent. In this case you would be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor for simple assault.
What is Simple Assault?
Essentially, any time you intentionally or recklessly cause bodily harm or injury, make physical contact, or threaten to make physical contact in a manner which strikes fear of bodily harm in the other person, you have committed simple assault. Contrary to popular opinion, you do not actually have to strike another person to be charged with simple assault. As an example, suppose you and your neighbor are engaged in a heated argument because he continuously parks his car in your driveway, even though you have asked him not to. During the argument, you tell your neighbor you will “hurt him” the next time he parks in your driveway, and to make your point you poke him in the chest with your finger.
The next thing you know, you are being handcuffed, and charged with simple assault, because your neighbor told the police he reasonably believed you would hurt him. While you may think the charges for such actions like these are bogus and relatively harmless, don’t fall into this trap. It is imperative that you retain a highly experienced criminal defense attorney who can ensure your rights are protected during this time and who will work hard to have the charges either dropped completely or dropped to a lesser offense. What your attorney knows that you may not be aware of is that a conviction for simple assault could bring serious penalties and cause you problems for years to come. It could be extremely beneficial for you to speak to an attorney from the Ciccarelli Law Offices. Our attorneys are highly experienced, and will work hard on your behalf to protect your future.
Penalties for Simple Assault in the State of Pennsylvania
The penalties for simple assault in the state of Pennsylvania include the following:
- If you are charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for simple assault, and convicted of the offense, you could spend up to five years in prison, and could pay as much as $10,000 in fines.
- If you are charged with a second-degree misdemeanor for simple assault, and convicted of the offense, you could spend up to two years in prison, and could pay as much as $5,000 in fines.
- If you are charged with a third-degree misdemeanor for simple assault, and convicted of the offense, you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail, and a $2,000 fine.
It is essential that you have experienced legal representation when dealing with simple assault charges, whether the charges stem from a child custody battle, a fist fight in a bar, a domestic violence case, or any other reason.
Defenses to the Crime of Simple Assault in Pennsylvania
Unfortunately, it is relatively easy to be charged with simple assault, as compared to other crimes, and in some cases, it takes nothing more than someone with a grudge against you to swear they are in fear that you will harm them. While the defense your attorney will use on your behalf for your charges of simple assault will depend on the circumstances surrounding the offense, there are several defenses which could be available to you, including:
- You were acting in self-defense, or were defending the safety of another person. For this defense to be successful, you will need to demonstrate that you sincerely felt your safety was threatened, that you did not provoke the other person, and that you could not reasonably have responded by walking away. Be aware that you cannot fire a gun at your attacker if that attacker was only using his or her fists.
- You could claim an affirmative defense, meaning you did commit simple assault on another person, however it was to prevent that person from committing a crime or harming another person.
- You have been mistakenly identified by the person accusing you or by an eyewitness. This could happen in a fight which involved multiple people—a witness might mistake you, an innocent bystander, as a person involved in the fight.
- You unintentionally injured another person—it was an accident, and you had no malicious intent. This could potentially happen in a crowded area where a person is accidentally pushed and subsequently hurt. You will need to show that you did not recklessly or willfully hurt the person in question.
How We Can Help
If you have been charged with simple assault, the attorneys at the Ciccarelli Law Offices can help you evaluate your legal options and the strategies available to 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.