The Difference Between Simple Assault & Aggravated Assault
In Pennsylvania, assault is one of the most commonly charged crimes. Assaults cover a wide range of crimes, and when you or a loved one finds themselves charged with an assault, the best thing to do is contact a criminal lawyer in Philadelphia or your city.
The consequences and punishments for assaults vary depending on the severity of the crime and the types of offenses that occurred. Simply put, many individuals are charged with either a simple assault or an aggravated assault. Penalties related to assaults can range from probation and fines to up to 40 years in prison.
A Look at Simple Assault & Its Punishments
Often, in Pennsylvania, the commonly charged assault crime is characterized as a simple assault. These crimes are typically graded as a misdemeanor offense of the second degree and carry lesser sentence possibilities than an aggravated assault. These crimes are charged in one of four scenarios where bodily injury is put in harm’s way.
- Bodily injury is caused due to negligence with a deadly weapon.
- A victim feels fear of imminent injury due to physical menace.
- Assault when penetrating a law enforcement officer during an arrest or a search.
- Bodily injury is recklessly attempted or caused intentionally.
The sentence associated with a simple assault can be up to two years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. These scenarios are simple assaults of the second degree, but in any of these instances if the assault is committed by an adult over the age of 21 and the victim is under the age of 12, it becomes a simple assault of the first degree. These crimes can carry a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
When there is an altercation and a fight between two mutual parties, this is a misdemeanor of the third degree and carries a maximum of $5,000 fine and up to one year in prison. If you’ve been charged with a crime of assault, you need the right criminal defense in Philadelphia from the experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard J. Fuschino, Jr.
A Look at Aggravated Assault & Its Punishments
A more serious charge is aggravated assault, which usually involve crimes where weapons are involved, assaults on police, and scenarios where a person charged was deemed to cause or attempt to cause serious bodily injury.
An aggravated assault is a felony of the second degree. This felony carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. An assault where a deadly weapon is used, typically a knife or a firearm, these are charged as a felony aggravated assault. Depending on the case at hand, the felony can be graded as an aggravated assault felony of the first degree, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
An important distinction with serious bodily injury is that the accused person charged does not have to cause serious injury, but merely have the mindset of causing serious bodily injury is enough for a person to be found guilty.
Aggravated assault convictions for persons with a gun carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five to ten years in state prison. Mandatory state prison is also carried out when the victim of assault is under 17 or over 60 years old.
If you’re facing a second conviction of aggravated assault, these are considered first degree felonies and has a minimum sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison, whereas a third conviction results in a minimum sentence of 25 to 50 years in prison – or up to life imprisonment. When you have an aggravated assault charge, contact our criminal defense attorneys for qualified and prepared representation for your case.