Were you recently arrested for assault in Chester County, PA? The consequences could be devastating. You need an advocate now more than ever.
DiCindio Law, LLC can get started helping you build your defense today. Former Chester County prosecutor and founding partner Mike DiCindio personally handles every case.
Our West Chester assault defense lawyer will use more than a decade of experience in criminal law to fiercely defend your rights and your freedom.
Call our West Chester, Pennsylvania law office today at (610) 430-3535 to schedule your free consultation, or contact us here.
How DiCindio Law, LLC Can Help If You’re Arrested for Assault
When you’re facing criminal charges for assault in West Chester, Pennsylvania, you need to take swift action. Prosecutors come down hard on violent crimes like assault. You need a lawyer to protect your rights.
DiCindio Law, LLC has the knowledge and experience to build a strong defense and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. In fact, our attorney spent the first part of his career as a Chester County prosecutor. So, we’ve seen it all, and we know how the Commonwealth will handle your case.
When you hire our Chester County criminal defense lawyers, we’ll:
- Immediately launch an investigation into the allegations against you
- Gather evidence to support your defense
- Interview witnesses
- Scrutinize the alleged victim’s story
- Challenge the evidence against you
- Negotiate with the prosecutor’s office to seek a plea deal to lessen your penalties
- Aggressively defend you in all court proceedings
We pride ourselves on being available for you when you need us throughout your case. We know you’ll have questions and you’ll be anxious.
We’ll keep you informed and always make sure you understand your legal options. We’ll fight for you as if we’re fighting for a member of our own family.
Contact our West Chester, PA law firm today for a free case evaluation. Let us explain how we can help.
What is Assault in Pennsylvania?
Assault is a general term for bodily harm. In Pennsylvania, assault also includes what is referred to in other states as “battery.” There’s no separate charge for battery in Pennsylvania.
Putting someone in fear of bodily injury is also considered assault. That means you can be charged for threats—even if you never touch the alleged victim.
An assault can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the alleged incident. Assault charges can be stand-alone charges, or they may be included as part of domestic violence accusations, drug crimes, theft charges, or other crimes.
In very general terms, simple assault will be charged for causing bodily injury. Threatening someone to inflict serious bodily harm can also lead to a simple assault charge.
Aggravated assault will generally involve causing serious bodily injury. You could also get charged with aggravated assault depending on whether there was a weapon involved and the identity of the alleged victim.
Under Pennsylvania law, simple assault occurs when someone:
- Attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person;
- Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
- Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or
- Harms a law enforcement official or mental hospital staff during an arrest or search by concealing a hypodermic needle.
Assault doesn’t always have to be intentional. If the DA can prove you injured someone because you negligently handled a deadly weapon, such as a gun or a knife, then you could be charged with simple assault.
Aggravated assault is a more serious crime and carries heavier penalties. A physical altercation that might otherwise be a simple assault can turn into aggravated assault when it involves a government official, such as a police officer.
Someone commits aggravated assault when they:
- Attempt to cause or cause serious bodily injury;
- Attempt to cause or cause bodily injury or serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer, liquor store employee, or public transportation employee;
- Attempt to, or intentionally or knowingly cause bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
- Attempt to, intentionally or knowingly cause, or threaten to cause bodily injury to a public school employee;
- Attempt to, or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to a child under the age of six, by a person over the age of 18;
- Attempt to, or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause serious bodily injury to a child under the age of 13, by a person over the age of 18.
There are a lot of variables in any criminal matter. We first get the whole story from you. Then we get to work analyzing every aspect of your case to determine the best strategy for your defense.
What Are the Penalties For Assault in Chester County, Pennsylvania?
The penalties for assault will depend on a number of factors. Aggravated assault will have more serious penalties than simple assault.
The judge has some discretion when it comes to handing down your sentence. Sentencing guidelines take into account the nature of the offense as well as your criminal history. If this is your first offense, you may have a better chance at receiving a lesser sentence.
Simple assault is usually a second-degree misdemeanor except:
- In cases of a mutual fight (then it’s a third-degree misdemeanor); or
- If a person over the age of 18 assaults a child under the age of 12 (then it’s a first-degree misdemeanor)
Aggravated assault is a felony. It will be a first-degree or second-degree felony depending on the circumstances.
Misdemeanors in Pennsylvania carry different penalties depending on the severity of the crime:
- A first-degree misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to five years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine
- A second-degree misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to two years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine
- A third-degree misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and up to a $2,500 fine
A skilled West Chester criminal defense attorney will present a compelling case to fight for a sentence on the lower end of the penalty scale.
There is a range of penalties for felonies in Pennsylvania.
Depending on the circumstances of the crime and your relationship with the alleged victim, you could be facing the following punishment:
- A first-degree felony carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine
- A second-degree felony carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine
A recent change in the law in Pennsylvania makes strangulation of a domestic partner a felony.
When you’re charged with assault, don’t let the accuser’s story be the only one that’s told. There’s always another side. If there are circumstances that can keep you out of jail or get your sentence reduced, we’ll find them.
Other Consequences of an Assault Conviction
Jail time and fines may be your immediate concern, but a conviction carries potential other long-term consequences that can seriously affect your life.
Having an assault conviction on your record could cause you to:
- Lose your right to own a gun
- Lose your right to vote
- Lose your job or have trouble getting hired
- Affect your ability to rent a home
- Damage your reputation
We do everything we can to lessen the effects of your criminal charges. Dismissal is always our goal. If that’s not possible, we seek a resolution that causes you the least possible punishment.
That’s where attorney Mike DiCindio’s experience as a former West Chester prosecutor comes in handy. He knows how the district attorney’s office works. He’s aggressive, but also respectful and honest.
What Are Defenses to Assault?
Each case is different. What worked in one case may not apply or be the best choice for another. Our West Chester criminal defense attorney’s extensive knowledge and experience allow him to find every possible defense that could help you.
In some cases, an “affirmative defense” may apply. That means that even if you violated the law, you were justified in doing so because of the circumstances.
Some common affirmative defenses include:
- Defense of others
- Mistake of fact or law
There could be other affirmative defenses. If you had a reasonable belief that you had to take the actions that resulted in your assault charges, you could have an affirmative defense.
Other Defenses to Assault
In addition to affirmative defenses, there are other ways to fight your assault charges in Chester County, PA.
Depending on the fact of your case, we may argue:
- There is insufficient evidence to satisfy the burden of proof
- You were falsely accused
- The alleged victim is biased against you
- There’s a case of mistaken identity
- Your arrest was unlawful
- You were the victim of an illegal search and seizure
- Lack of intent
Sometimes evidence can get thrown out. We work day and night to think of creative and compelling strategies for your defense. Criminal cases are never straightforward. We never let the prosecutor get a minute of rest when we’re fighting for your rights.
In addition to the defenses discussed above, we can also fight your case by using expert witnesses to weaken the prosecution’s case against you. We can use medical experts to testify that the alleged victim’s injuries are not as severe as they say.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With Our West Chester Assault Defense Lawyers
If you’ve been charged with assault or any type of criminal offense, let DiCindio Law, LLC start building your defense today. We’ve added years of freedom to countless clients’ lives by either getting charges dismissed or securing a lesser penalty.
Let West Chester assault defense lawyer Mike DiCindio put his years of experience as a former prosecutor to work for you.
Your future is on the line. Don’t wait—call today for your free consultation.