R. DAVIS YOUNTS
Assault and Battery
What constitutes assault and aggravated assault in Pennsylvania?
How are convictions for these crimes penalized? What steps should you take if you are charged in this state with assault or aggravated assault? The first step is contacting the right Lemoyne criminal defense lawyer.
Pennsylvania doesn’t have a specific law that uses the term “battery.” Instead, the state defines and forbids “simple assault” and “aggravated assault.” Simple assault is usually charged as a misdemeanor, but there is nothing “simple” about the law or about what follows an arrest.
WHAT DOES THE STATE HAVE TO PROVE TO CONVICT YOU OF ASSAULT?
To convict someone of simple assault in this state, a prosecutor must prove that a defendant recklessly or intentionally committed at least one of these acts:
- put someone in fear of imminent bodily injury
- attempted to inflict bodily injury on someone else
- did in fact inflict bodily injury on another person
In Pennsylvania, simple assault is usually a second-degree misdemeanor, but if the victim was younger than age 12 and the defendant is age 18 or older, the offense can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor.
WHAT IS “AGGRAVATED” ASSAULT IN PENNSYLVANIA?
Aggravated assault in Pennsylvania is “the attempt to cause serious bodily harm to another,” or if bodily injury occurs, the defendant shows “extreme indifference to the value of human life.” Aggravated or “felony” assault may be charged as a second-degree or first-degree felony.
Every assault with a deadly weapon is considered an aggravated assault in this state. And even if an injury or an attempt to cause injury was not “serious,” aggravated assault can be charged if the alleged victim is a first responder, judge, teacher, police officer, corrections officer, or a child.
A conviction for aggravated assault as a second-degree felony may be penalized with up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.
WHEN IS AGGRAVATED ASSAULT A FIRST-DEGREE FELONY?
If an aggravated assault results in serious bodily injuries, or if a prosecutor alleges that a defendant specifically attempted to cause serious bodily injuries, the prosecutor may charge that defendant with first-degree felony aggravated assault.
Aggravated assault as a first-degree felony is one of the most serious crimes dealt with by the Pennsylvania criminal justice system. A first-degree felony conviction for aggravated assault in this state may be penalized with up to twenty years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.
For more info on this topic, check out our blog post on Simple vs. Aggravated Assault.
WHAT IF AN ASSAULT IS A CRIME OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Domestic assault is not considered a separate crime in Pennsylvania, but if an alleged assault against a household or family member or sexual partner is reported, police are required to make an arrest, and a victim may not “drop” the charge – that decision is left entirely to the prosecutor.
Any assault conviction in Pennsylvania can dramatically and negatively change your life. And in addition to criminal charges and penalties, assault in Pennsylvania is an “intentional tort,” which means that victims may also sue their assailants for damages in the state’s civil courts.
WHAT ARE THE “OTHER” CONSEQUENCES OF AN ASSAULT CONVICTION?
An assault or aggravated assault conviction has consequences that can follow an offender for years. An assault conviction will appear on your criminal record, which means that it can be seen by anyone who conducts a background check.
If you hold a professional license in this state, an assault conviction will likely mean disciplinary action – a suspension or revocation of your license – by your professional licensing board. If you are an immigrant in Pennsylvania, an assault conviction may put you at risk for deportation.
Obviously, an assault or aggravated assault conviction needs to be avoided. But where can you find the legal help you may need?
CHARGED WITH ASSAULT? CONTACT ATTORNEY R. DAVIS YOUNTS IN LEMOYNE
If you are charged with assault or with aggravated assault, Lemoyne criminal defense lawyer R. Davis Younts can offer you sound legal advice, craft an effective defense on your behalf, and bring your assault or aggravated assault case to its best possible conclusion.
Attorney R. Davis Younts has eighteen years of legal experience. He is a former prosecutor, JAG (Judge Advocate General), and Senior Defense Counsel in the U.S. Air Force. He is committed to winning justice for those accused of crimes in military, federal, and Pennsylvania state courts.
If you have been accused or charged with assault or aggravated assault, you may be able to plead self-defense. What happened may have been an accident or a misunderstanding. It’s even possible that you’ve been misidentified and that someone else committed the assault.
Attorney R. Davis Younts may even be able to have the charge dismissed if the prosecutor has insufficient evidence or if your rights were violated by the police.
If you are charged with assault or aggravated assault in Dauphin or Cumberland County, call attorney R. Davis Younts at (833) 739-5291 or (717) 612-4840. His law offices are located in Lemoyne at 26 North Ninth Street. If you are facing any assault charge, you must obtain a good defense lawyer’s help.