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ArrestedGenerally speaking, an assault in Pennsylvania is defined as the imminent apprehension of harm, that may, but does not require actual physical harm. There are two types of assault in Pennsylvania: the most serious being Aggravated Assault, which is classified as a first or second degree felony; and the least serious is Simple Assault, which is, with a couple of exceptions, classified as a second degree misdemeanor.

Defined 

In Pennsylvania, a person is guilty of Simple Assault if he/she:

  • Attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person;
  • 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 or 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.

“Bodily injury” is defined as impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.

In Pennsylvania, a person is guilty of Aggravated Assault if he/she:

  • Attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another or cases such injury intentionally, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. A first degree felony;
  • Attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to any of a police officer, firefighter, probation or parole officer, sheriff or deputy, prosecutor, public defender, judge, or elected official, while in the performance of duty. A first degree felony ;
  • Attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
  • Attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to a person affiliated with an elementary or secondary publically or privately funded educational institution or private school;
  • Attempts by physical menace to put any police officer, firefighter, probation or parole officer, sheriff or deputy, prosecutor, public defender, judge or elected official in fear of imminent serious bodily injury while in the performance of duty;
  • Uses tear or noxious gas, or an electric or electronic incapacitation device against any officer, firefights, probation or parole officer, sheriff or deputy, prosecutor, public defender, judge or elected official while acting within the scope of his/her employment;
  • Attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to a child less than 6 years of age, by a person 18 years of age or older; or
  • Attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause serious bodily injury to a child less than 13 years of age, by a person 18 years of age or older. A first degree felony.

“Serious Bodily Injury” is defined as bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

Defenses 

There are few defenses to an assault charge in Pennsylvania, but some of them may include:

  • Lack of intent to harm;
  • No bodily harm occurred;
  • Self-Defense;
  • Mutual Consent
  • Provocation;
  • Insanity; and
  • Age.

Penalties 

In general, Simple Assault is classified in Pennsylvania as a second degree misdemeanor having a maximum penalty of two years of imprisonment, a fine of $5,000.00, or both.  However, in situations where a fight is entered into by “mutual consent” the offense level is reduced to a third degree misdemeanor having a maximum penalty of one year of imprisonment, a fine of $2,500.00, or both.  Significantly, when the act is against a child under 12 years of age by a person 18 years of age or older, the offense level is increased to a first degree misdemeanor having a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment, a fine of $10,000.00, or both.

Due to the violent, serious and more extreme nature of Aggravated Assault conduct, they are classified as either first or second degree felonies, depending upon the applicable subsection of conduct involved. A first degree felony has a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment, a fine of $25,000.00, or both; while a second degree carries 10 years of imprisonment, a $20,000.00, fine or both.

In essence, the first degree felonies involve intentional, knowing or reckless conduct by an adult that manifests extreme indifference to the value of human life; or, involves law enforcement officers, first responders, individuals affiliated with agencies within the criminal justice system, or elected officials; or, results in serious bodily injury to a child less than 13 years of age.  All other conduct falling within the definition of Aggravated Assault is classified as a second degree felony.

In the News 

Most recently, former Detroit Lions football player Brandon Pettigrew was arrested in Pittsburgh after allegedly punching a police officer in the chest multiple times. He was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, along with theft of services and public drunkenness. The scuffle reportedly started when Mr. Pettigrew allegedly refused to pay his limo fee of $97. Mr. Pettigrew was reportedly extremely intoxicated and allegedly had to be placed in a restraining chair after aggressively resisting the police.

Contact 

If you or a loved one has been charged with an assault in Pittsburgh, it is imperative that you reach out to a competent and effective attorney for immediate help. Contact The Law Offices of Gary E. Gerson and let our experienced attorney guide you through the legal process and put you in a position to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Further Reading on Aggravated Assault

Pittsburgh Assault Lawyer

Assault suspect admits crimes

Daycare worker accused of abuse

Man charged with assault of nurse in Sewickley ER

Teacher accused of assaulting student

 

Resource:

post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2018/07/09/NFL-free-agent-detroit-lions-Brandon-Pettigrew-arrested-in-Pittsburgh/stories/201807090072

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