If you are convicted of simple assault, you might end up facing some serious jail time and hefty fines. It is well worth the expense and effort to vigorously fight these charges.
Things to Know About Simple Assault
- Simple assault is classified as a misdemeanor. The law was designed to protect people from being attacked. An assault is a crime against an individual; it does not include crimes made against property.
- You can face these charges if you purposely (intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly) injure another individual. An example of simple assault would be punching someone in the jaw that you were arguing with.
- Attempting to cause an injury to someone else could also result in a simple assault charge. Trying to stab someone with a knife, even if you miss, is simple assault.
- If you are negligent with a deadly weapon and injure someone, you have committed simple assault.
- If you threaten to cause someone any kind of injury, you have committed simple assault.
- If you try to hide, or actually do hide, a hypodermic needle on your person AND then intentionally stick a cop, jail worker, detention facility worker, or county hospital worker who tries to arrest you, you have committed simple assault.
Being charged with simple assault does not necessarily mean you have caused an injury to someone. It’s possible for you to be charged with menacing the person instead. It’s also possible that someone could claim you have injured them because they have a grudge against you. An accusation of that nature might not be enough for prosecutors to convict you, but you will still have the arrest on your record, and the charges will still be filed against you.
What Are Misdemeanor Degrees and What Do They Mean?
- Simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor. But, if you are over 21 years of age and the alleged victim is under 12 years of age, then it is possible that you would be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree.
- If you get into a fight where everyone is fighting by mutual consent, then your charge might be a third-degree misdemeanor.
- In the state of Pennsylvania, and in Pittsburgh, you might be sent to prison for 5 years for a first-degree misdemeanor, 2 years for a second-degree misdemeanor, and 1 year for a third-degree misdemeanor.
What Do I Do If I Am Charged With Simple Assault?
You should hire a Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Lawyer as soon as possible. Then, share all the details with him. He will examine your case from every angle and decide if the prosecution has evidence to prove everything they have charged you with. Your attorney should look at the following things:
- Were your actions unintentional, or did you set out to knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally assault the person?
- Is there evidence to prove your intentions, that what you did was reckless, and that you knew it would cause injury?
- Did the alleged victim actually sustain an injury?
Pennsylvania has a clause in the law that allows you to argue that you performed the action that caused the injury in self-defense. As long as the weapon you used was not bigger than the one the other person had, you can use this argument. In other words, stabbing someone with a knife who tried to punch you with his fists is not considered to be self-defense.
Because your attorney will be looking at every possibility to help you, it’s vital that you share with him every bit of information that might support your case. Your lawyer will be looking for evidence that proves what you did was legal or unintentional.
Make sure to give your lawyer a list of everyone who witnessed what happened. Look around the area where the crime occurred; if there are surveillance cameras, there might be pictures available that could help or harm your case. Make sure your lawyer knows about them.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
Even before you attend your first hearing, if you are charged with simple assault, you are up against a prosecutor who is out to win the case against you. You need an experienced and determined Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Lawyer who will stand beside you, help you decide the best path to take, and work hard to prove your innocence.
Want to Learn More About Simple Assault in Pennsylvania?
A definition and description of simple assault can be found in the Pennsylvania Criminal Code under Title 18, Chapter 27.
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