Harassment Vs. Assault
Harassment and assault are two types of actions an individual takes against another individual for various reasons. Engaging in either of these actions can result in criminal charges being brought against you, no matter if you’re an adult or a minor. If your actions include actions against a minor, contain sexual elements, or physical contact, you run the risk of receiving severe penalties. That means you’re going to need help from a Philadelphia sexual assault lawyer who can aid you with a legal defense in court.
Understanding Harassment Vs. Assault in Pennsylvania
The state of Pennsylvania has separate statutes that define harassment and assault. Both types of crimes consider physical attacks against another person, but the difference between the two comes down to the intent behind the action. In § 2709, titled Harassment, the definition of an offense includes shoving, kicking, striking, or otherwise physically contacting another person. It also includes harassment, annoying, or alarming another person. Other crimes under this section include:
- Cyber harassment of a child
- Stalking (includes the location where the action took place, such as a home or apartment)
- False reports
In contrast, assault covers coming into contact with another individual with, or without, forethought. Under Chapter 27, you can be charged with assault for punching someone else in the face during an argument, or you can be charged for intentionally firing a gun into an occupied building or structure. An assault charge ranges in severity from simple to aggravated, and the law is comprehensive in the types of charges that are covered.
Who’s Considered a Victim of These Crimes?
Anyone who has been the subject of harassing or assaulting behavior is considered a victim by the justice system. However, there may be mitigating circumstances that can be presented in court and be used in your defense. For example, you and your domestic partner have been at odds with one another and you wind up getting arrested and charged with domestic violence. In a situation such as this, you’ll want to look into getting help from domestic violence lawyers in Philadelphia to help with your case.
Ultimately, retaining legal counsel is your best course of action for defending yourself in court, no matter what the relationship is between you and the other person involved in the case.
The Punishments for Harassment and Assault
The punishments that are associated with these types of charges depend on their severity. That is, if the allegations are minimal, so is the punishment. The punishments increase with the severity of the actions. As a general rule, you can expect to pay a fine and/or be put on probation or serve time in jail.
Pennsylvania uses a grading system in terms of the gravity of a crime. In the event you’re being charged for the first time, your case is classified as a summary offense, and may or may not be graded. If you’re a repeat offender and the victim(s) in your new case are the same, your charges will be moved up a grade, resulting in a harsher punishment.
How Our Law Firm Can Help You With Either of These Charges
If you’re facing a charge of harassment or assault, get in touch with us at The Law Office of Richard J. Fuschino today. You are entitled to a defense in court, and retaining a lawyer with years of experience practicing criminal law makes sure you get the most out of your opportunity to present your side in court. Our attorney is familiar with how the Philadelphia criminal courts function and can provide you with invaluable advice on how best to proceed with your defense. Call us today to schedule a consultation to learn more about how we can help and support you through