Criminal Defense

Assaults


There are many types of assaults defined in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, and the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice. The most common types of assaults you see charged are Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault.

 

Simple Assaults

In Pennsylvania, a Simple Assault is generally defined as attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person, negligently causing bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon, or attempting by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. Simple Assault is usually a misdemeanor of the second degree, with a maximum period of incarceration of up to 2 years, unless it was a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a misdemeanor of the third degree with a maximum period of incarceration of 1 year.

In New Jersey, a Simple Assault is generally defined as attempting to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person, negligently causing bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon, or attempting by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. In New Jersey, a Simple Assault is a disorderly persons offense, with a maximum period of jail of up to 6 months, unless the Simple Assault was committed during a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense with a maximum of 30 days in jail.

 

Aggravated Assaults

In Pennsylvania, an Aggravated Assault is generally charged as a felony of the first or second degree. A first-degree felony carries up to 20 years in prison, and a second-degree felony carries up to 10 years in prison. Many times, an Aggravated Assault is charged as an attempt to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causing serious bodily injury to another intentionally, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. A Simple Assault upon a protected class can become an Aggravated Assault. A Simple Assault with a deadly weapon can also constitute an Aggravated Assault.

In New Jersey, the general definition of the crime of Aggravated Assault is very similar to the Pennsylvania definition. The New Jersey statute also includes more detailed circumstances of what can constitute an Aggravated Assault, such as by pointing a firearm at another person, or by pointing a firearm or imitation firearm at a law enforcement officer.

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