Assault in Bucks County and elsewhere in Pennsylvania is a crime that can lead to serious penalties and a criminal record. Assault can be charged as simple assault or aggravated assault depending on the circumstances. Simple assault is a misdemeanor, whereas aggravated assault is a more serious crime and will be charged as a felony. The punishments associated with these charges vary depending on the severity of the assault at issue. An experienced Bucks County criminal defense lawyer can examine your case and, where appropriate, negotiate to have the charges reduced or dismissed.Simple Assault Versus Aggravated Assault in Pennsylvania
The severity of the injury (or the severity that was intended) determines whether something is simple or aggravated assault. Sometimes people believe that you can only be charged with assault if the victim was actually hurt. However, somebody can be charged with assault in Pennsylvania because of his or her intent to cause either a bodily injury or a serious bodily injury. The charge can be proved with either circumstantial or direct evidence. If you fire warning shots towards someone and say that you are going to shoot off their foot, for example, a prosecutor could charge you with aggravated assault and argue that you intended to cause serious bodily injury based on what you said.
Simple assault, a misdemeanor, requires evidence that the defendant caused or intended to cause any sort of bodily injury. This charge may be punished with up to 2 years of incarceration, though the punishment is worse for an assault against a minor under the age of 12.
Aggravated assault is a felony that requires that the prosecutor prove the defendant caused or intended to cause a serious bodily injury—one that crates a substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, or loss of function in a body part or organ. Aggravated assault can be charged where someone intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly harms or tries to harm a police officer or where someone causes serious injury with a deadly weapon. Aggravated assault may be charged as a second-degree felony and punished with imprisonment for up to 10 years. Assault with extreme indifference or against a police officer can also be charged as a first-degree felony. This carries a potential penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.
Whether you are charged with simple or aggravated assault, you may wind up with a criminal record that follows you for the rest of your life. Most cases are complex, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can identify relevant defenses to the charge. For example, an accused person may able to show self-defense, lack of intent, no bodily injury, insanity, or provocation or involuntary intoxication. Often, police officers assume that the person who got hurt was a victim and the person who threw a punch was the aggressor. But this is not always the case. It may be the case that a alleged victim threw several punches, and you were only defending yourself by pushing the victim away. A knowledgeable defense attorney can look into whether you had sound reasons to act as you did and persuade the prosecutor to reduce or drop the charges if there were circumstances that justified your actions.Consult a Lawyer About Assault Charges
Assault in Bucks County or anywhere is a serious crime to be charged with, and it can carry heavy penalties, depending on the circumstances surrounding it. Consult experienced Bucks County criminal defense attorney John M. Kenney for sound advice about your charges. For a free initial consultation, contact him at (215) 547-3031 or by completing our online form. Mr. Kenney serves clients in Bristol, Morrisville, Fairless Hills, Yardley, Langhorne, and throughout Bucks County, Pennsylvania.