Most of the time, simple assault is a misdemeanor 2 charge and carries up to 2 years in prison. It usually involves a fight that both parties entered mutually, called “mutual consent”, and is charged as a misdemeanor 3 and carries up to one year in prison. This is certainly not always the case though, and the type of charge and the consequences are highly dependent on the exact details of your confrontation.
Although Pennsylvania does not have one specific charge for battery, the charge of aggravated assault in Pennsylvania is a violent crime and could be charged as a felony. You could receive serious, life-changing consequences of up to ten or even twenty years in prison.
Battery refers to any use of force or violence against another person, even if the victim did not suffer from injuries because of the act. However, if the victim did receive serious injuries because of your actions, you may be charged with battery causing serious bodily injury.
Whereas battery refers to an incident that occurred, assault refers to an attempt to cause harm to another through force or violence. The difference between the two is the act of actual physical contact. In a battery, you may initiate physical contact with the victim to cause harm, whereas, in criminal assault charges, there was an attempt, but no actual physical contact needs to have occurred. Simply put, assault is a threat of a battery, and a battery is an actual unlawful touching of another person.
The main difference that will get you more dire consequences is that in a battery charge you inflicted harm and did not just threaten harm. You can only be charged with a more dire assault charge if you have caused real physical harm to the other person.
No matter what the courts call it, threatening harm or doing harm to another is a serious crime in Pennsylvania and could result in you receiving life-changing, extensive jail time. Given that fact, you require a Lemoyne assault and battery lawyer who will fight for your rights and help you keep control of your future.
What Types of Actions Could Get Me Charged with “Battery” or Assault Charges?
In Pennsylvania, misdemeanor simple assault charges involve intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly inflicting bodily injury on another, attempting to do so, or putting someone in fear of imminent bodily injury.
More serious battery or assault charges are known as aggravated assault and usually are charged as felonies.
There are several ways you can end up with a battery or assault charge, such as:
- Bodily Injury – This would be when you inflict any type of physical impairment and includes inflicting physical pain on another. For example, bruises and scratches could be considered bodily injuries.
- “Knowingly” means acting with awareness of what you were doing and the consequences of those acts. For instance, if you punch someone in the face and the victim falls and hits their head, you have acted knowingly. You knew that the victim could fall and hit her head because of your actions, even if you did not intend for that to happen.
- “Recklessly” would mean you acted with deliberate disregard of the risks of your acts. For example, speeding down a dark road without your lights on would be reckless.
- Use of a deadly weapon – Negligently if you cause bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon could be considered simple assault. A deadly weapon is any weapon that could be used to cause death or serious injury.
- You act negligently when you should be aware of the risks of your acts but go ahead anyway. The test is whether any reasonable person in the same circumstances would have been aware of the risks involved.
- Physically Menacing another – If you put another in fear of imminent bodily injury using physical menace, you could be accused of simple assault. The physical menace must be an act; it cannot merely be a verbal threat. For example, yelling at a couple that you will kill them, by itself, is not a physical menace.
You begin to see that the legal lines between battery, assault, aggravated assault, etc. may not always be clear. If you are facing any of these charges, you should talk with a local assault & battery criminal defense attorney who has experience defending such charges in Pennsylvania.
There are numerous possible outcomes of these cases, which could include dismissal of your charges, a not guilty verdict, or a conviction on a reduced charge. Your assault & battery lawyer is vital to you from the moment you are arrested and charged.
What Occurs if I Have Committed Assault or Battery on a Law Officer?
In all states, this is a serious situation and can occur quickly and easily given certain conditions. An assault and/or battery on a police officer may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and usually depends on the nature of your conduct.
However, because your action is against an officer of the law and involves an assault and/or battery, the charges are usually a felony and are considerably more serious.
It’s also not uncommon for you to be falsely accused of assault on a police officer. In just a blink of an eye when you confront a police officer, the situation can escalate, and the incident can become chaotic. Police officers may misunderstand your words or behavior and sometimes may overreact. Be aware, however, you want to avoid this type of incident at all costs.
How Much Jail Time Can I Receive for a Battery Charge?
This is a difficult question, as each case involves different specifics and details. In most cases, simple assault is a misdemeanor 2 charge and carries up to 2 years in prison.
However, felony assault and battery can get you incarcerated for approximately one to 25 years, depending on the specific provisions of Pennsylvania’s sentencing statutes and sentencing guidelines.
Most importantly, if you are facing a battery charge, you should consult with a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. They can help you determine if any defenses are available to you given the specifics of your case.
I Have Been Charged with Battery, What Should I do First?
Battery cases are legally complex, and how they are compiled and presented to the courts may determine your future. Criminal defense attorney R. Davis Younts can help get you options, and possibly even have your charges dismissed if the prosecutor has insufficient evidence or if your rights were violated by the police. Consult with him immediately, and make sure your rights and future are in professional hands.