olice were called to the home of an Altoona, Pennsylvania man’s home to investigate alleged animal cruelty. Law enforcement found a flea-infested home and a puppy whose skull had been crushed in, allegedly caused when the man stomped on the Chihuahua’s head. During questioning, the man punched one of the officers in the face, according to Oxygen. He, and two women in the house, were arrested for nine counts of animal cruelty—eight other animals were found to be neglected in the home—and three counts of endangering a child. Three children were found in the home, all under 10 years old, who were infested with fleas. The man was also charged with the following crimes:
- Aggravated assault of a police officer;
- Aggravated cruelty to animals;
- Obstruction of justice;
- Resisting arrest;
- Recklessly endangering another person; and
- Disorderly conduct.
The most serious of the crimes is aggravated assault of a police officer. However, in cases such as this, the sheer number of offenses the defendant is charged with can bring the total accumulated jail and prison time to decades behind bars. Only an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney should take on cases in which numerous serious offense have been charged, particularly the crime of attacking a police officer.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer
Aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer in the line of duty is either a second degree felony or a first degree felony under Pennsylvania statute 2702, depending on the circumstances.
- Second degree felony: attempting to cause bodily injury or intentionally causing bodily injury to a police officer; and
- First degree felony: attempting to cause bodily injury or intentionally or recklessly causing serious bodily injury to a police officer.
As such, there is a great difference between bodily injury and serious bodily injury. Serious bodily injury is defined under Pennsylvania § 2301 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.” As such, being punched in the face and suffering a bloody nose would not constitute serious bodily injury. On the other hand, being punched in the face and suffering a serious traumatic brain injury would be considered serious bodily injury.
Are You Facing Prison Time?
A second degree felony carries a maximum term of incarceration of 10 years, and a fine of up to $25,000. A first degree felony is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000. Furthermore, it is not only police officers that are protected under this statute. All law enforcement officers, while performing their job, are protected. This includes firefighters, judges, district attorneys, parole officers, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and more.
Call a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you have been arrested with aggravated assault on a police officer and have been brought in for questioning, you need experienced and aggressive legal representation. Call the Philadelphia criminal defense team of today van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim today at (215) 486-0123.