West Chester Assault Defense Lawyers
Are you facing violent crime charges such as assault or domestic violence in Chester County, Pennsylvania? If so, you need effective criminal defense representation as the legal penalties you may face are very harsh, even if your assault charge is a misdemeanor. You should consult with a skilled West Chester Pennsylvania assault defense attorney.
Please contact the Kennett Square assault defense lawyers at Donze & Donze by dialing (610) 444-8018. They offer free consultations and serve all of Chester COunty, PAo
Pennsylvania Assault Laws
Assault is a broad term that can categorize many different situations and crimes in the state of Pennsylvania. From bar fights, to sexual assaults, to aggravated assaults, these crimes, while varied, are no doubt devastating to the victims who they affect. Assault can be defined as unlawful and unwanted intentional physical contact with another individual, and different types of assault will lead to different penalties and charges for an offending person.
Categories of Assault in Pennsylvania
When it comes to assault charges in the state of Pennsylvania, crimes are typically broken down into 2 different categories of simple assault or aggravated assault. To be convicted of simple assault, one of the following scenarios must be proven:
- That the offending party’s negligence with a weapon caused harm to another person
- They intentionally caused, or attempted to cause, physical injury to another person
- The offending party used physical intimidation to threaten another of bodily injury
These charges are far more serious in the state of Pennsylvania, and these charges will come with loftier penalties. In order to be convicted of aggravated assault, one of the following situations must be proven by prosecutors:
- The offending party caused a bodily injury that shows indifference to the victim’s life
- A correctional officer, police officer, firefighter, parole officer, or similar official is threatened with serious bodily injury
- A defendant causes, or attempts to cause, bodily injury to a member of a teaching staff working in a school building
- The offending party uses a stun gun or toxic gas on an official while the official is working
Simple assault charges will be either a 2nd or 3rd degree misdemeanor depending on if both parties consented to and were equally involved in the physical altercation, while aggravated assault charges are considered a felony of either the 1st or 2nd degree.
Assault Charge Penalties in Pennsylvania
Penalties for simple assault and aggravated assault charges will vary in the state of Pennsylvania, with aggravated assault charges carrying the significantly harsher punishments. Also, the situation revolving around the incident may play a role in what a person will be charged with in an assault case.
A 3rd degree misdemeanor simple assault charge will typically carry a penalty with a maximum of 1 year in jail. However, for a first offense, this penalty is often found to be less. A 2nd degree misdemeanor simple assault charge will carry similar penalties, typically with the addition of probation along with a jail sentence.
Aggravated assault charges carry harsher penalties, and both 1st and 2nd degree aggravated assault convictions will carry prison time. For a 2nd degree aggravated assault charge, a person can expect to spend up to 10 years in a state prison. If a person is convicted of 1st degree aggravated assault, their expected prison sentence then raises to up to 20 years. Because aggravated assault charges are considered to be felony charges, these penalties may also include probation time as well as expensive fines, and felony assault charges are far more difficult to have expunged from one’s criminal record.
The Importance of an Attorney in Assault Cases
For those facing assault charges, or those who were a victim of an assault, an attorney is necessary to ensure a fair trial. Attorneys will be able to represent their clients in a way that allows them to get either fair compensation for their situation or a fair penalty, as an attorney will know all of the Pennsylvania laws that revolve around such cases.
Common Assault Defenses
With the right defense and the right attorney, a person facing assault charges may be able to have their charges or penalties lessened or eliminated. These defenses will vary with each specific situation, but some common defenses in assault cases are:
A person may use the defense of self-defense if the assault was brought on by an attack or potential attack by another individual.
No intent of harm
The defense of no intent of harm is used when the individual facing assault charges did not intend to harm the other individual involved in the situation.
Lack of knowledge
The lack of knowledge defense, much like the no intent of harm defense, can be used if the person facing assault charges was unaware that their actions would lead to a situation of bodily injury or harm.
Provocation is a defense used when the person facing assault charges claims to have been provoked by the other party, thereby causing the situation of assault.
– Age may be used as a defense if the person facing charges is a juvenile and thereby unable to make informed decisions on their actions.
The insanity defense is used if the person facing assault charges is not of an able mind to make a conscious decision on their actions. Because assault charges may only lead to convictions if the person knowingly committed the crime, a defense of insanity may be used should the person prove an inability to be responsible for what they do at any given time.
Intoxication can be used as a defense in assault charges only if the person facing charges was in this condition involuntarily. If the person was drugged or given alcohol without their knowledge, and this physical condition leads to an assault, this defense may be used.
No bodily injury found
If no bodily injury is found on the victim, the person facing assault charges may use this defense to prove they did not cause bodily harm.
Contact A West Chester Assault Defense Attorney
Call our law office at 610-444-8018 to speak with our Pennsylvania Lawyers about your assault charges. Our experienced and steadfast attorneys will help you fight for your rights in your criminal case. You can also email our law firm directly to schedule your consultation.
We proudly serve those in need of criminal defense representation throughout all of Chester County, Pennsylvania including Avondale, Avon Grove, Berwyn, Chester, Chester Spring, Coatesville, Devon, Downington, Elverson, Malvern, New London, Oxford, Paoli, Phoenixville, Union, West Chester, Pennsylvania.