Assault Charges in Pennsylvania – Frequently Asked Questions

What You Want to Know About an Assault Charge 

All assault charges in Pennsylvania have serious consequences that may change your life forever. In many cases, the assault is against a person that you know. In others, the person may be someone you’ve never seen before such as happens in a bar fight. In either circumstance, you need an attorney experienced in defending an individual charged with assault. At the Travis Law Firm, we work hard to protect your rights and structure a strong defense, We do this by initiating a thorough investigation of the charges. 

What to Do Following an Assault Charge

Being charged with assault can be a frightening experience for you and your family. It is important for an individual charged with assault to keep focused and realize that state laws deal harshly with such charges. Not only will you face financial penalties but also jail time, depending on the charge. In addition, if convicted, the assault will remain on your record and interfere in getting a job, a loan, and in some cases, housing. Rather than letting the fear overwhelm you, it is best to follow the steps listed below:

  • Find an experienced assault defense lawyer: The courts in Pennsylvania are difficult to understand and navigate. It is easy to make a simple mistake that can have monumental consequences. If you try to defend yourself, you may face a longer jail sentence and higher fines. Hiring an experienced assault defense lawyer can change the outcome in a positive way. 
  • Remain silent: You have the right to remain silent when charged with assault. Trying to explain what happened can be a bad idea when you are in a pressured situation. It is better to respond to police in a respectful way, but it is your right not to answer any questions other than your personal information. You can inform the police that you wish to remain silent until your attorney is present. This is your right. Once you have an attorney, all interviews with the police require the lawyer’s presence. 
  • Do not post anything about the accident: Although you may want to discuss the charges with friends on social media, this is a bad idea. Don’t post pictures or your explanation of what happened. It isn’t unusual for police to monitor social media accounts. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Assault Charges

The following are the most frequently asked questions our law firm receives from clients:

  • Will I go to jail for assault? This depends on the gravity of the charge and your defense. In Pennsylvania, assault charges vary based on several factors. There are two types of assault charges in the state. These are simple assault and aggravated assault. 
  • What is the difference between simple and aggravated assault? Following an assault charge, most clients will want to know the difference between the two types of assault. Basically, simple assault and aggravated assault are similar but different. 
    • Simple assault: Simple assault occurs when one person threatens someone else with physical harm or causes physical injury. For example, the person may wave their fists in a threatening manner or try to land a punch but misses. The assault may also involve negligent harm to another with a weapon. In other cases, the person may hide a hypodermic needle on their body and use it to harm a law enforcement agent. 
    • Aggravated assault: This type of assault occurs when the person knowingly or intentionally tries to cause serious bodily harm to another. This can include harm to a police officer or a person employed in law enforcement.
  • How is assault graded?
    • Simple assault: Most charges of simple assault are a second-degree misdemeanor. The lowest assault charge is a third-degree misdemeanor, which refers to a consensual fight between parties. However, if the assault was on a child under 12 by someone 18 years old or more, the charge becomes a first-degree misdemeanor, the highest level of wrongdoing. 
    • Aggravated assault: Aggravated assault that causes serious injury to another person or law enforcement agent or employee or a child under 13 is usually charged as a first-degree felony. All others face felony charges in the second and third degree. 
  • What are the penalties a person charged with assault faces? The potential jail time a person who commits simple or aggravated assault faces are:
Third-degree misdemeanorPrison time – one year
Second-degree misdemeanorPrison time –  2 years
First-degree misdemeanorPrison time – 5 years
Third-degree felonyPrison time –  7 years
Second-degree felonyPrison time – 10 years
First-degree felonyPrison time – 20 years

A Strong Defense Is Important

If you face charges of assault, you should retain a local and seasoned criminal defense assault lawyer. The Travis Law Firm will investigate your case and provide a strong defense to help reduce or eliminate the charges against you, restore your reputation and help you get a fresh start in life. Reach out today at (814) 277- 2222. You can also contact us online if that is more convenient for you. 

Photo attribution: