Aggravated Assault Charges in PA
An aggravated assault in Pennsylvania is defined as causing or attempting to cause serious bodily injury to another. The “seriousness” of the injuries is what normally separates aggravated assault from simple assault. A serious physical injury generally occurs when there is a substantial risk of death or when the injuries cause permanent disfigurement, and/or impairment of a body part.
If officers arrive on the scene shortly after or during the altercation, they will make an initial determination of who the “victim” was, and who the aggressor was. This is usually based upon visible bodily injuries, or the credibility of the parties involved. Officers can, at this point, decide to file charges through the district attorney with or without a complaint by the “victim.”
An aggravated assault charge in PA is graded as a felony. A felony assault can also result from a lesser bodily injury (not serious) when the victim is a:
- Law Enforcement Officer
- Officer of the court
- Emergency Medical Technician
- Probation Officer
- Government Official
The above are protected classes under the criminal code in PA, and significant/serious bodily injury need not occur for a felony assault in the first degree to arise.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault
If an assault is committed against a child under the age of 13 by an individual who is 18 years or older, the charge will be graded as a Felony of the First Degree. A First Degree Felony can result in a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.
A Felony in the Second Degree for aggravated assault carries a penalty of up to 10 years of incarceration.
Anyone facing assault charges is strongly advised to consult with and retain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Defending Against Aggravated Assault
A felony assault charge in Pennsylvania can be defended against with the help of an experienced local attorney. One common defense used is self-defense. Assault charges are often based upon circumstantial evidence and ‘he-said, she-said’ statements.
If the defense can demonstrate to the court that the assault may have occurred in self-defense, then it will fall upon the prosecution to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused did not act in self-defense. This is a very high standard of proof at trial that may result in a finding of not-guilty, or in the charges being dropped.
Tibbott & Richardson takes the defense of our clients very seriously. We are experienced attorneys who know how crucial your defense is to your future. We have been handling assault cases in Pittsburgh, Allegheny and Cambria County with aggressive representation and the local prosecution and court experience required to gain positive outcomes for our assault clients.
Call our law offices today for a free initial consultation. Allegheny County: 412-690-0225 or Cambria County: 814-419-6440. You may also fill out our confidential contact form and submit it to us at any time.