Simple and Aggravated Assault in Pennsylvania

If you are like most people in Pennsylvania, you have heard references to assault charges in many situations. This may be on television shows, in movies or perhaps even on the local news. But, do you really understand what types of actions can lead a person to be officially charged with criminal assault?

According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, there are two basic categories of assault charges recognized under state law. The first is simple assault and the second is aggravated assault. Most simple assault charges are first- or second-degree misdemeanors. Most aggravated assault charges are first- or second-degree felonies. Clearly, the aggravated assault charges are more serious and convictions for these will result in more serious consequences than for simple assault charges.

In both types of assault charges, the infliction or attempt to inflict harm on another person may be involved. Harm might be rendered consciously, with intent or via recklessness in a simple assault charge. Inappropriate use of a gun or other weapon that results in bodily harm may also be deemed assault. Threats intended to make others fear harm may be charged with assault. If a defendant is accused of having no respect for the life of others or of using a weapon consciously to cause harm, a charge of aggravated assault may be entered. The ages and job functions of alleged victims may also impact whether a charge is for simple or aggravated assault.

If you would like to learn more about different assault or battery charges in Pennsylvania, please feel free to visit the violent crime page of our criminal defense website.

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