When you punch somebody or push them, you risk being charged with simple assault. It’s illegal to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause anyone else bodily injury using your body or a weapon.
Under Pennsylvania law, you don’t actually have to injure somebody else for simple assault to take place. If you frighten someone into fearing that they are in imminent danger of being seriously injured by you, even if you don’t make contact with your fists or a weapon, you can still be charged.
How a Simple Assault Charge Can Affect Your Life – What is Simple Assault?
If you are found guilty of simple assault, you can be sentenced to two-years in jail on a misdemeanor of the second degree.
If your alleged victim is under 12 and you are over 21, you can be sentenced to serve five years in prison.
An assault charge can be very stressful for your family. If you are the breadwinner and you have to spend time in jail, it can hurt them financially as well as emotionally. When your employer finds out you were arrested for a violent crime, it can also have a damaging impact on your employment and you may even lose your job. You will have a criminal record that can negatively affect your ability to get a good job, join the military, obtain certain professional licenses, or be admitted to graduate school. For these reasons, it makes sense to hire a reputable and serious Pittsburgh simple assault lawyer.
Injuries and Simple Assault
If you do cause an injury, it does not have to be a serious one for you to be charged with simple assault. For example, if you throw an object into someone’s face and their only injury is a bruise, you can still be arrested.
Assault Charges and Fights
If you take part in a fight where everyone who joins in is there by mutual consent, and the police are called in to break it up, they may likely arrest all who are involved. Simple assault for participation in a fight is a misdemeanor of the third-degree and you may be sentenced to jail for one-year.
Self Defense in a Simple Assault Case
Pennsylvania gives you the right to defend yourself as long as you use a weapon that carries the same level of force as the one your attacker is using. For example, if someone tries to slap you, you should not respond by slashing them with a knife.
What Pennsylvania Law Says About Simple Assault
Under Pennsylvania law, simple assault is defined by anyone does the following actions:
- attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;
- negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
- attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or
- conceals or attempts to conceal a hypodermic needle on his person and intentionally or knowingly penetrates a law enforcement officer or an officer or an employee of a correctional institution, county jail or prison, detention facility or mental hospital during the course of an arrest or any search of the person.
Typically simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor unless it was a bar fight or group fight of mutual consent, which makes it a third-degree misdemeanor, or against a child under the age of 12 by a person 18 or older, which makes it a first-degree misdemeanor.
Steps to Take if You Have Been Charged – Call a Pittsburgh Simple Assault Lawyer
If you have been charged with an assault offense, your first step should be to immediately hire a Pittsburgh simple assault lawyer to ensure the best outcome.
You will probably be jailed overnight or immediately bonded out. While you are in jail, do not talk about the incidents that occurred with anyone other than your attorney. Don’t talk to the police or prosecutors unless your attorney is with you. Do not have any contact at all with the alleged victim. If you phone or text them or otherwise communicate with them, what you say can be taken out of context and used against you at a trial.
When you meet with your lawyer, tell them everything that happened including the names of any possible witnesses. It is important to give your attorney the information they need to prove that your actions were unintentional and/or legal. Let your attorney know if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the alleged assault took place. It will be more difficult for the District Attorney to prove you had criminal intent if you were impaired at the time. If any of your friends took pictures or videos of the events that took place, be certain to give them to your lawyer.
Don’t let a simple assault charge against you ruin your life. Be sure to seek out a dedicated assault and domestic violence attorney.