Defense Lawyer for Assault Charges In Pennsylvania
In television shows and movies, people might get into scuffles before dusting themselves off, shaking hands, and going their separate ways. While this type of situation might not seem serious, you can be charged with a crime for this type of conduct in Pennsylvania. Simple assault charges may be filed against you if you intentionally cause or try to cause someone else to suffer bodily injuries, negligently injure someone with a weapon, or intentionally cause someone else to fear that they will be imminently injured. In some cases, people who simply acted to defend themselves will be accused of committing a simple assault. Retaining a criminal defense attorney in West Chester, PA at DiCindio Law might help you to avoid a conviction or secure a favorable plea to reduced charges
If you get in an argument that turns physical, you, the other person, or both of you could be charged with committing a simple assault.
This crime is codified in 18 Pa.CS § 2701 and can be charged in any of the following circumstances:
- You knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly cause physical injuries to someone else.
- You knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly try to cause physical injuries to someone else.
- You negligently handle a deadly weapon and injure someone.
- You physically menace someone to make them fear for their safety.
Under this statute, you could be charged with committing simple assault even when you do not actually injure the other person. For example, you could be charged with committing a simple assault if you try to punch someone in the face at a bar but fail to make contact. Simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor. However, the offense level can be elevated or downgraded in certain situations.
If you get into a fight to which you and the other person mutually agreed, the simple assault will be a third-degree misdemeanor. If you are 21 or older and assault a victim younger than age 12, it is a first-degree misdemeanor.
What are the penalties in Pennsylvania for a simple assault conviction?
If you are convicted of committing a simple assault, the penalties you might face will depend on the level of the offense of which you were convicted.
The penalties include the following:
- First-degree misdemeanor simple assault – Maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine
- Second-degree misdemeanor simple assault – Maximum of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine
- Third-degree misdemeanor simple assault – Maximum of 12 months in jail and a $2,000 fine
If you have been charged with committing a simple assault, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney in West Chester at DiCindio Law. With good defense representation, you might be able to avoid the consequences of this offense and preserve a clear criminal record. In addition to the criminal penalties for a simple assault conviction, any type of criminal offense can also cause collateral consequences in other areas of your life. If you have a criminal conviction on your record, prospective employers that complete background checks might hesitate to offer you employment. You could also be turned down for a lease and have difficulties in your relationships with others.
How can you defend against a simple assault charge in Pennsylvania?
You can be charged with committing a simple assault in a broad variety of situations. You could be charged when someone claims that you placed them in fear that they would be physically harmed even if you did not actually strike that person. When you meet with a defense lawyer, he or she will review your case to identify which defenses to use in your case. The particular defense that might be available to you will depend on the facts of what happened.
Some of the common types of defenses to a simple assault charge include the following:
- You were defending yourself.
- You were defending someone else.
- You were misidentified by the victim or a witness.
- It was an accident.
- You have an alibi and were not present when the alleged assault occurred.
- You were falsely accused.
If you were defending yourself or someone else against the alleged victim, you can raise self-defense or defense of others as an affirmative defense. To do this, your attorney will have to show that you had a sincere belief that your or the other person’s safety was being threatened by the alleged victim, you did nothing to provoke him or her, and you could not reasonably have walked away. However, self-defense or the defense of others must be proportionate. For example, you cannot shoot someone when he or she was simply trying to punch you.
When the victims do not know their attackers, eyewitness identification procedures might be used. If you were misidentified because of a faulty lineup procedure, your attorney may file a motion to challenge the procedure the police used. If this is successful, your charges could be dismissed.
Some people are charged with simple assault when they accidentally injure others. If the incident that led to your charges was an accident, and you did not intend to cause any harm, you can defend against a simple assault charge. For example, if you accidentally pushed someone when you were in a crowded location, this type of defense might apply.
If you were somewhere else at the time the assault occurred and could not possibly have committed it, your attorney might raise an alibi defense. To succeed, you will need to present evidence of your whereabouts at the time of the incident. For example, your attorney might introduce receipts, surveillance video, and witness testimony to show that you were not at the location when and where the assault occurred.
Finally, some people are falsely accused of committing an assault. If you have been falsely accused, your lawyer may vigorously cross-examine the alleged victim and any witnesses the prosecutor might call to testify against you. Your attorney might also call witnesses to testify about the character and reputation of the alleged victim for truthfulness in the community to demonstrate he or she lacks credibility.
Contact a criminal defense attorney near me
If you are facing simple assault charges, you should get legal help immediately. Contact DiCindio Law for a free consultation by calling us at (610) 430-3535.