It doesn’t take
much for an altercation to escalate into something violent. Even when
someone else is the verbal aggressor, a person may face criminal
charges if they throw the first punch. Before entering a guilty plea
to assault charges, these people should know about their rights.
Offenses in Pennsylvania
In the state of
Pennsylvania, assault crimes include simple and aggravated assault.
Penalties depend on the nature of the assault, the victim, the
defendant’s history, and other factors.
Simple assault is
usually a misdemeanor and includes intentional or reckless injury,
negligent injury with a deadly weapon, putting someone in fear of
bodily injury, or intentionally sticking an officer with a needle.
assaults are charged as second-degree misdemeanors, with potential
penalties including up to two years in prison and a $5000 fine.
However, for victims under age 12, it’s a first-degree misdemeanor,
with penalties of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
As the name
implies, aggravated assault is more serious. It may involve
intentional bodily injury to a civilian or public servant, bodily
injury with a dangerous weapon, or harm to a child under the age of
assault is typically charged as a first- or second-degree felony.
First-degree felonies carry a potential sentence of up to 20 years,
as well as a $25,000 fine. Second-degree felonies carry a sentence of
up to ten years and a $25,000 fine.
As a criminal law lawyer in Muhlenberg PA may tell a potential client, a person acting reasonably to defend themselves or someone else may be able to reduce or eliminate charges. The key word here is reasonable. For instance, if one person threatens to slap another, it’s not self-defense for the second person to brandish a gun or knife.
An assault conviction carries serious penalties that may affect a person’s future long after they serve the sentence. Before pleading guilty to simple or aggravated assault, a defendant should consult a Criminal Law Lawyer in Muhlenberg PA to learn about their legal rights. Learn about Missan Law Office online or call today to request a consultation.