Understanding Simple Assault in Pennsylvania
Earlier this month, a Hanover, PA man was charged with assault after punching a woman in the stomach. She had recently given birth via a cesarean section and suffered significant bleeding. Now, he is facing charges of second-degree simple assault. Assault is one of the most common offenses in Pennsylvania, mainly due to the fact that so many circumstances could be considered assault.
Whether or not assault occurred in this most recent case is not yet known, as the man claimed he was giving the woman a piggy-back ride and she fell. However, it’s important everyone understands what constitutes simple assault in the state, and the penalties one could face if convicted.
Simple Assault Defined
Pennsylvania’s simple assault laws are outlined in the Crimes Code in 18 PA C.S.A. 2701. Under this statute, simple assault is defined as an intentional attempt to cause another person bodily harm. Recklessly causing someone else harm is also considered simple assault. Negligent use of a deadly weapon could also result in assault charges.
It’s important to understand that no injuries have to result from the incident in order for someone to face simple assault charges. One person simply has to try and hurt another individual. Bar fights commonly result in assault charges. In these fights, even attempting to punch another person is considered assault, even if they miss and don’t punch anyone.
Penalties for Simple Assault
There really is nothing simple about simple assault charges. They still need a solid defense, as the penalties are harsh. Simple assault is always charged as a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, although there are varying degrees.
A third-degree misdemeanor, the least serious of all simple assault charges, carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. A second-degree misdemeanor, the crime charged in the recent news story, carries penalties of up to two years in jail and a $5,000 fine. Lastly, a first-degree misdemeanor carries a potential sentence of up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
In assault cases that involve an alleged perpetrator over the age of 21 and an alleged victim under the age of 12, first-degree assault charges are typically laid, regardless of whether or not injury occurred.
Have You Been Charged with Assault? Call Our Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorneys
Simple assault charges may not sound serious, but they are. The penalties are very strict and those convicted will also have a permanent criminal record. Those accused need a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney that can help.
At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, we know how serious assault charges are, and we also know the defenses to use to give you the best chance of having your charges reduced, or dropped altogether. We’ll work hard to find and present evidence that corroborates your side of the story, and give you the best chance of success in court. Don’t leave your future up to chance. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online so we can start reviewing your case.
“Micheal van der Veen was my attorney and he did an outstanding job on my case. He really listens and cares about your situation no matter how big or small and also makes you feel right at home when your in his office.”- Matt Swisher
“The van der Veen team treats you as family. We win together. You are not just a client, but a family member when you choose this office.”- Antonio Walker
“It has been a real pleasure to work with Mr. van der Veen and his team. They really care not only about the case and the legal issues, but mainly about the person. The legal work is excellent and the result in our case was simply outstanding!”- Nadia Hristova
Unrivaled Record of SuccessWe have won tens of millions of dollars for injured victims, and have achieved countless "not guilty" verdicts for clients faced with criminal charges.
No Challenge too BigOur firm has handled some of the biggest cases in country, including representing the President of the United States.
We understand that every case is unique. Therefore, we tailor our approach based on the facts of the case and the needs of our client.
Uncompromising PassionOur competitive nature is one of our strongest qualities. You can be confident that no other firm will outwork our team.
Holistic ApproachNot only do we want to excel legally for the client, but we also want to make sure we are strengthening their mind, body and spirt.
Supporting the CommunityOur team engages in many community events and regularly donates time and resources to many charitable organizations in Philadelphia.
Home to Philadelphia’s most accomplished attorneys, van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin pairs diverse practice experience with a passion-driven, comprehensive law practice—all for the client’s benefit.