Everyone knows that unfortunately some situations can escalate quickly, and people occasionally react in ways that they never expected. Stress, an emotional stimulus, or a lapse in judgment may lead you to lash out. If you were charged with assault as a result, you’re still entitled to an opportunity to explain things, and to seek the best possible resolution. Don’t just accept the consequences. It’s essential to have a Greensburg assault attorney to represent your interests, from day one.
At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, our violent crime lawyers in Greensburg are committed to fighting for the rights of those accused of simple or aggravated assault. We know that allegations can be misleading, exaggerated, or outright false, so we’re dedicated to providing a solid defense.
What Does Assault in Greensburg Mean?
Pennsylvania’s assault laws are tough and can be complicated with simple assault encompassing four types of conduct:
- Attempting or causing bodily injury, intentionally or recklessly;
- Causing bodily injury through negligent use of a weapon;
- Using menacing acts to make someone fear that bodily injury is imminent; or,
- Concealing a hypodermic needle and penetrating a police officer, an employee of a correctional facility, or other individual mentioned by the statute.
On the other hand, aggravated assault incorporates more serious acts, like causing injury through the use of a deadly weapon, threatening harm to members of law enforcement, and other conduct designated by law.
How can I be arrested for assault?
You can be charged with either simple or aggravated assault if you engage in any of the acts specified by law, or if the victim falls within one of the categories stated in the statute.
Assault Penalties in Westmoreland County, PA
There are varying criminal sanctions for an assault conviction in PA, including:
- Third-Degree Misdemeanor Simple Assault: If you’re convicted of this offense through an intentional, consensual interaction with the alleged victim, you could be sentenced to one year in custody and a fine up to $2,500.
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor Simple Assault: For this type of assault, your sentence for a conviction could be a maximum of two years’ imprisonment and a fine up to $5,000.
- First-Degree Felony Aggravated Assault: The more serious of the two degrees of felonies, this crime could carry up to 20 years’ incarceration and a maximum fine of $25,000.
- Second-Degree Felony Aggravated Assault: You face a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and a fine up to $25,000 for this offense.
Beyond assault jail time, a conviction on a misdemeanor or felony charge means that you’ll have a criminal record. You may experience difficulties with employment, loans, educational opportunities, and immigration. If the situation involved domestic violence, your rights to child custody and visitation could be restricted.
However, you should always bear in mind that an arrest doesn’t mean a conviction. The prosecuting attorney must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest level of proof under the US legal system. There may be multiple opportunities for an assault attorney to attack the evidence, witness testimony, or negotiate for a reduced outcome.
Defending Against Assault Charges
Every situation is unique, and depending on the specifics of your case, your lawyer may develop a defense around claims that:
- You lacked the specific intent to cause harm;
- You acted in self-defense or defense of others;
- The victim was not acting within the scope of employment regarding the professions described in the statute;
- Your acts were not such that a reasonable person would have felt intimidated or threatened;
- You didn’t cause bodily injury; or,
- The weapon in your possession does not meet the “deadly” criteria.
By implementing a strong defense strategy, your potential assault sentence could be significantly reduced or lead to an outright dismissal. Plus, lack of knowledge may be a key component to your defense when looking at assault against public officials and other individuals specified by the statute. If you didn’t know that the victim held one of these positions, your assault attorney might have grounds to get the charges reduced.
Contact a Greensburg Assault Attorney Today
When you look at the harsh criminal penalties for simple or aggravated assault in PA, you realize the importance of retaining skilled, knowledgeable counsel. You can trust Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC with your case, We’ve represented many clients in Greensburg and throughout Westmoreland County in similar situations.
For more information on your defense options, please call (724) 834-1275 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We’ll review your situation and explain why an assault lawyer is your most valuable asset in defending yourself.