A Hardworking Criminal Defense Attorney is Needed When You are Accused of Assault
Assault can arise from any of a number of situations that most people find themselves in on a daily basis. An argument with another motorist over a parking space or a dispute with a member of your family can quickly turn violent. If that happens, you want the tough, aggressive Philadelphia assault attorneys at Philadelphia’s premier law firm, van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, protecting you against the harsh penalties and long-term consequences associated with an assault conviction.
The Different Levels of Assault Charges and The Penalties Associated With Each One Requires Top-Notch Legal Representation
Simple assault under Pennsylvania law occurs when you inflict physical harm upon another person or when you put that person in fear of bodily harm or injury. Our savvy and knowledgeable team of attorneys aggressively challenge the evidence presented by prosecutors attempting to prove the elements of the crime, including:
- Intentional or knowing conduct: Causing injury to another person by accident is usually not sufficient to charge you with committing an assault. The conduct must be intentional or knowing for the purpose of inflicting bodily harm.
- Threats of imminent bodily injury: Threats without actual injury must be accompanied by actual physical menace causing fear on the part of a victim that an injury might be inflicted.
- Negligent use of a deadly weapon: The law states that if you injure someone with a deadly weapon you could face assault charges if the weapon was used in a negligent manner. For example, firing a shot into the air in celebration could be considered assault if the bullet hits someone as it falls to earth.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor of the second degree punishable by up to two years in prison. If you are at least 21 years of age and the victim is less than 12 years of age, the charge is elevated to a misdemeanor of the first degree and the penalties increase to up to five years in prison.
Aggravated Assault is a Felony
There are situations that can result in an assault being charged as a felony that could subject you to up to 20 years in prison. Aggravated assault charges may be filed if an assault includes any of the following factors:
- Serious bodily injury was inflicted on the victim
- A deadly weapon was used to commit an assault
- The victim was a public official, such as a police officer, school teacher or firefighter
Conviction of an aggravated assault that does not result in serious bodily injury is a second degree felony punishable by fines up to $25,000 and a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. If there is serious bodily injury, the charge is a first degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.
Put Premier Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyers to Work for You
One of the most common defenses to an assault charge is self-defense, this defense shifts the burden onto you to prove that your actions and the level of force you used were justified. This is where the skills and legal savvy of a respected criminal trial lawyer are essential. State law allows you to defend yourself against an imminent threat of harm. For example, if someone threatens you with a knife, you could be justified in taking appropriate steps to defend yourself against the attack. However, if the person breaks off the attack and begins to leave, your use of force against that person might result in assault charges because you responded after removal of the threat.
If You are Facing Assault Charges, Contact Leading Philadelphia Assault Defense Attorneys Today and Begin Waging an Aggressive Defense
The dedicated Philadelphia Assault defense Attorneys at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin want you to know and understand your rights when facing assault charges, so we offer a free initial consultation. Call us at (215) 486-0123 today to schedule your appointment, or you can use our online contact form.