June 24th, 2024

What Is Aggravated Assault and How Can a Defense Lawyer Help If I’m Facing Charges?

Aggravated assault is one of the most serious charges you can face in Pennsylvania. If you or someone you love has been charged with this crime, it’s important to understand what aggravated assault is and the potential penalties that can result from a conviction.

At Gross McGinley, LLP, we provide a wide range of legal services, including criminal defense, family law, business law, litigation, estate planning, business and employment law, real estate, and more in Pennsylvania. Here, we explain aggravated assault charges and how a lawyer can help protect your rights.

What Is Aggravated Assault?

Under Pennsylvania law, aggravated assault is a crime in which someone attempts to cause or causes serious bodily injury to another person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly in circumstances that manifest extreme indifference to the value of human life. You may face aggravated assault charges in Pennsylvania if you:

  • attempt to cause or cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon, either bodily injury and/or serious injury to an enumerated person
  • cause or attempt to cause injury to law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, court officials, school employees, or other public workers
  • are a person 18 years of age or older and attempt to cause or cause bodily injury to a child under the age of six, or serious bodily injury to a child younger than 13

Levels of Aggravated Assault Charges and Penalties

The specific grading of an aggravated charge depends on the specific circumstances of the crime and factors such as prior criminal convictions.

A first-degree felony conviction for aggravated assault can result in 20 years of prison time and up to $25,000 in fines. If you’re convicted of a second-degree felony for aggravated assault, you may face 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help If You’ve Been Charged With Aggravated Assault

Being charged with any crime is daunting, but when you’re facing years of prison time for an offense like aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side. A Pennsylvania aggravated assault lawyer can help you understand the strength of the prosecution’s case, explain the possible penalties, and advise you of your options, such as negotiating a plea deal or going to trial.

Your criminal defense lawyer also will discuss potential defense strategies with you and prepare you for court if you decide to take your case to trial. Common defenses in aggravated assault cases include:

  • Showing that the alleged injury isn’t as serious as the prosecution claims: This often is done by citing previous cases in which the aggravated assault statute did not apply to the same type of injury and /or challenging medical expert opinions
  • Intent or lack of intent: A vital element of proving most aggravated assault cases is demonstrating that the defendant’s actions were intentional. Your aggravated assault attorney may use evidence or witness testimony to show what your intent was when the assault happened.
  • Self-defense: If your criminal defense lawyer demonstrates that you were acting in self-defense, charges may be dropped, or you may receive a verdict of not guilty at trial. Protecting other people or property also can be a valid defense in some cases.

Depending on the situation, mistaken identity, procedural and chain of evidence errors, and showing that you didn’t possess a weapon also can be elements of an aggravated assault defense strategy. Your criminal defense attorney also may question the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses and evidence.

Considering a Plea Bargain

If you’re thinking of accepting a plea agreement, your assault lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to help you get the best deal possible. Accepting a plea bargain can lead to reduced charges and a lighter sentence, but it’s important to keep in mind that you’re required to plead guilty and will have a criminal record. Your criminal defense attorney can advise you of possible options and outcomes so you can make informed decisions about how to proceed with your case.

Contact an Aggravated Assault Lawyer in Pennsylvania

Whether you’re facing simple assault, theft, or aggravated assault charges in Pennsylvania, our criminal defense lawyers at Gross McGinley, LLP, can help you navigate the legal system and ensure your rights are protected. Our teams of talented attorneys and staff work collaboratively and provide a wide range of legal services in addition to criminal defense, including matters surrounding family law, litigation, estate planning, and more. Contact us online or call 610-820-5450 to schedule a consultation with an aggravated assault lawyer in Pennsylvania.

The content found in this resource is for informational reference use only and is not considered legal advice. Laws at all levels of government change frequently and the information found here may be or become outdated. It is recommended to consult your attorney for the most up-to-date information regarding current laws and legal matters.