If you have been charged with aggravated assault allegations in Pennsylvania, your entire future is on the line. An aggravated assault conviction means that you could spend up to 20 years in prison under PA laws.
Much more severe than simple assault, aggravated assault occurs when the accused allegedly causes bodily injury intentionally, knowingly or recklessly, or when the accused puts another person in fear of bodily injury or causes serious injury by negligent use of a deadly weapon.
When aggravated assault is listed on your permanent criminal record, you will be labeled as a violent felon, making it extremely difficult to find employment, an apartment, and a house or to take out a loan.
It is important to not feel hopeless or powerless. Until you have been convicted of aggravated assault you have many options in defending your innocence, your rights and your liberties.
The Pittsburgh Aggravated Assault Attorneys at SMA Law Group understand the implications that these charges can have on your life and they are compassionate to your situation. It is important to speak with a skilled criminal lawyer immediately after being charged in order to have the best chance of building a strong legal defense.
Call our experienced and aggressive Pittsburgh Assault Lawyers for a free legal consultation.
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Generally, a person can be charged with aggravated assault if they are alleged to have intentionally or recklessly attempted to cause or caused “serious bodily injury” to another, bodily injury to a Law Enforcement Officer or bodily injury with a deadly weapon “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life”.
If you try to shoot someone with a gun and miss, that is aggravated assault. If you wave a gun around carelessly and shoot someone, it is also aggravated assault. If you push someone and they end up seriously being seriously injured, that is also aggravated assault.
The PA Criminal Code defines Aggravated Assault as:
A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he:
1) Attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury intentionally, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life;
2) Attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to any of the officers, agents, employees or other persons enumerated in subsection (c) or to an employee of an agency, company or other entity engaged in public transportation, while in the performance of duty;
3) Attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to any of the officers, agents, employees or other persons enumerated in subsection (c), in the performance of duty;
4) Attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
5) Attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to a teaching staff member, school board member or other employee, including a student employee, of any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school while acting in the scope of his or her employment or because of his or her employment relationship to the school;
6) Attempts by physical menace to put any of the officers, agents, employees or other persons enumerated in subsection (c), while in the performance of duty, in fear of imminent serious bodily injury;
7) Uses tear or noxious gas as defined in section 2708(b) (relating to use of tear or noxious gas in labor disputes) or uses an electric or electronic incapacitation device against any officer, employee or other person enumerated in subsection (c) while acting in the scope of his employment;
8) Attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to a child less than six years of age, by a person 18 years of age or older; or
9) Attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to a child less than 13 years of age, by a person 18 years of age or older.
The seriousness of the injury or the risk of death involved when committing assault is what makes aggravated assault a more serious crime than simple assault..
If the injured becomes disfigured or permanently impaired, aggravated assault charges will apply.
Under PA law, serious bodily injury is defined as a physical injury that cause serious, permanent disfigurement, a protracted loss of impairment of a bodily function(s) or poses a serious risk of death.
If you were charged with assault of a law enforcement officer in Pennsylvania, this is considered aggravated assault and is a first degree felony, meaning you face up to 40 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
It is aggravated assault to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly attempt to cause bodily injury or cause fear of serious bodily injury to Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs).
Law Enforcement Officers does not just mean police officers or arresting officers. LEOs can also include teachers or school district employees, as well as judges, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, parole officers, probation officers, district attorneys, public defenders, correctional officers or employees, private detectives, child protective services employees, wildlife conservation officers and constables.
Most aggravated assault cases are considered second degree felonies and are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Aggravated assault becomes a first degree felony when the victim is a police officer or law enforcement officer.
The consequences of aggravated assault will deeply affect your future – getting a job, finding housing, receiving certain government aid could all be difficult. In addition, you may lose other civil rights like being able to own a gun.
When you are accused of a crime, you may feel hopeless and powerless. But there are many defense strategies an experienced Pittsburgh defense attorney could use to defend your rights and your innocence.
Common defenses to assault charges can include:
When your entire future is on the line, you need an excellent attorney who is going to work aggressively to defend your rights, who is compassionate and cares about their client, who is knowledgeable about the Pennsylvania legal system and who is resourceful in gathering and examining the evidence to build a strong legal defense.
Pittsburgh Attorney Christopher Thomas is skilled and experienced at winning assault cases and fighting for charges to be reduced or dropped altogether.
At SMA Law Group, we will first try to determine if you were charged lawfully. We will work with you and listen to you in gathering all evidence and witnesses to prove your innocence or that your actions were not intentional.
In order to be prosecuted, it has to be proven that you intended to harm the victim and that you were not acting in self-defense. We will thoroughly investigate all police reports and evidence to determine if this is a strong defense strategy.
If you were charged with assaulting a Law Enforcement Officer, there are several defenses that can be applied such as the LEO using excessive force during the arrest or that the arrest was unlawful.
In order to protect your freedom and your reputation we will work to ensure that you have a strong case to bring before the judge. We will use all our legal knowledge and ability to get the best possible outcome for your case.
Our aggressive and compassionate attorneys are here to guide you through a difficult time.
Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney Christopher Thomas has years of experience in defending the rights of people in Western Pennsylvania. Contact him today.
Attorney Thomas is here to answer your questions, listen to your situation, explain your rights and offer the best steps to defending your rights and getting your future on track.