What is Simple Assault?
An 18-year-old man has recently plead guilty to a number of charges relating to the assault of three young girls he dated over a period of four years. Among the many charges he is facing, the most minor is simple assault. Unlike what many people think, simple assault does not always have to include a sexual act. In fact, a person’s own negligence or carelessness could result in charges of simple assault. So, what is simple assault and how can you defend against it if you are charged?
Misdemeanor Simple Assault
The majority of simple assaults in Pennsylvania are considered second-degree misdemeanors. Those convicted of this charge will likely have a sentence of up to two years in prison. If the simple assault charge is in relation to a fight that was mutual between two or more people, the charge is lowered to a third-degree misdemeanor. Individuals convicted of this charge will face a maximum of one year in prison.
If someone becomes injured during the negligent use of a weapon, the person in control of that weapon may also face simple assault charges. For example, if someone is carrying a firearm and engages in horseplay with it but someone becomes hurt, the simple assault charge may still stand.
Like all crimes, the offense becomes even worse if the victim was a minor under the age of 12. When this is the case, and the perpetrator was older than 18 years old, the charge is upgraded to a first-degree misdemeanor, which has a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Even though many people think simple assault is a minor charge, a conviction will remain on a person’s criminal record for the rest of their lives. Simple assault charges can also be expunged once a person reaches the age of 70, or if someone is granted a Governor’s Pardon.
Reducing the Charges of Simple Assault
Prison is the most severe consequence for simple assault in Pennsylvania, but a criminal defense lawyer can help accused individuals get their charges reduced, or thrown out altogether. The most common defenses used in these cases are as follows:
- Lack of bodily injury
- Lack of intent
- Involuntary intoxication
Some accused individuals also plead no contest, which means they are not pleading guilty but also do not wish to fight the charges. In these instances, alternative rehabilitative disposition (ARD) is sometimes possible. If a judge allows ARD, the individual must complete a program before their charges are dismissed. To be eligible, you cannot have any prior offenses or have any prior experience with ARD.
Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Pennsylvania Can Help With Your Charges
When you or someone you love has been charged with simple assault, our Allentown criminal defense lawyers at van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin can help with your case. We know how to defend against these charges and give you the best chance of beating them. Call us today at 215-515-6892 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.