The Basics of Assault and Battery Laws in Chester County, PA

The Basics of Assault and Battery Laws in Chester County, PA

In Pennsylvania, there is no distinct criminal charge for battery. The state uses different degrees of assault to cover actions that would constitute battery in other jurisdictions. It is essential to understand these charges, how they are defined legally, and what defenses may be available to you if you’re facing charges. 

Different Degrees of Assault in Pennsylvania

In Chester County, PA, as in the rest of Pennsylvania, assault charges are divided into simple assault and aggravated assault, as well as different degrees, based on the severity of the alleged act. 

Simple Assault

Simple assault occurs when there is an attempt or actual infliction of bodily injury upon another individual – done intentionally or knowingly or through negligent actions involving a deadly weapon. A person can also face simple assault charges for attempting to instill serious fear of imminent severe bodily harm in another person. 

Simple Assault Penalties

The penalties for simple assault under Pennsylvania law vary based on specific circumstances surrounding the offense.

Typically, simple assaults are categorized as second-degree misdemeanors, with potential prison time of up to two years.

If deemed a mutual fight where both parties consent and actively participate, the charge is reduced to a third-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum jail time of up to one year.

When an adult aged 18 or older commits an assault against a minor who is under 12 years old, it escalates in severity and is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, with penalties potentially reaching up to five years in prison.

Aggravated Assault 

In Chester County, PA, aggravated assault is considered a more serious offense compared to simple assault and brings along harsher penalties. 

Common scenarios leading to charges of aggravated assault include the following:

  • Deliberately attempting to cause or causing serious bodily injury or recklessly causing serious bodily injury
  • Attempting to cause or causing bodily injury to government officials and public servants, like police officers
  • Attempting to cause or causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon

While the actions listed here are among those most commonly charged as aggravated assault, there are additional behaviors and scenarios that classify as a violation of this statute.

Aggravated Assault Penalties

The penalties for aggravated assault in Chester County are severe and take into account the level of harm caused or intended.

For an aggravated assault that involves actions against officers without causing serious bodily injury, the defendant will be charged with a second-degree felony. This charge can lead to up to 10 years in prison and may include fines reaching $25,000.

If serious bodily injury is caused or if there was intent to cause it, the defendant can be charged with a first-degree felony. This can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years and fines as high as $25,000. 

Whether the charge is simple or aggravated assault, each case has its own complexities that should be addressed by a criminal defense lawyer

Navigating assault charges in Chester County potentially involves a number of legal defenses that can be employed based on the specifics of the case. Some of the most common include:


Asserting that your actions were necessary to protect yourself from imminent harm is a common defense. The force used must be reasonable and proportionate to the perceived threat.

Defense of Others

Similar to self-defense, this strategy argues that you acted with reasonable force as an immediate reaction intended to protect others from real or perceived danger.

Accident Without Criminal Intent

Not all harmful physical contact is criminal – sometimes accidents happen without bad intentions. If an injury occurs due to an accident where there was no criminal intent, it may not constitute assault.


In cases of alleged assault, your defense might revolve around the argument that you have been incorrectly identified as the perpetrator. This is often supported by alibis or lack of forensic evidence linking you to the crime.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Law Firm in West Chester, PA

If you are facing criminal charges and need legal help, contact the West Chester, PA criminal defense lawyers at DiCindio Law, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation.

DiCindio Law, LLC
29 S Walnut St
West Chester, PA 19382
(610) 430-3535

***This blog article is made available by the law firm publisher for educational purposes and to provide general information, not to provide specific legal advice. By reading, you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the publisher. The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of fa