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Cases involving assault charges can be complex and result in serious penalties that affect all aspects of your life. At Gross McGinley, LLP, our simple assault defense lawyers understand that facing criminal charges is daunting. Our team has served clients in Pennsylvania for more than 40 years and is dedicated to helping you understand your rights, crafting solid defenses, and working toward positive outcomes in simple assault cases.

What to know about simple assault charges in Pennsylvania:

How is simple assault defined under Pennsylvania law?

What are the degrees of simple assault?

What are the penalties for simple assault convictions in Pennsylvania?

What are some defense strategies for simple assault?

Should I negotiate a plea agreement?

How do the defense attorneys at Gross McGinley prepare for trial?

What’s involved in presenting a strong defense?

How does a criminal defense lawyer demonstrate reasonable doubt?

How is a defendant sentenced for simple assault in Pennsylvania?

Can I appeal my conviction?

How can the criminal defense lawyers at Gross McGinley help with my case?

     

What is Simple Assault?

In Pennsylvania, a defendant may be charged with simple assault if they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person. A person also may face simple assault charges if they negligently cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon or attempt to put another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.

     

Degrees of Simple Assault

Simple assault usually is charged as a misdemeanor of the second degree in Pennsylvania. However, if an alleged victim is under the age of 12 and the defendant is 18 or older, they may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. If a defendant and another participant mutually instigated an altercation, they may be charged with a misdemeanor of the third degree.

     

Penalties for Simple Assault in Pennsylvania

Although simple assault usually is a misdemeanor, the consequences of a conviction can be significant. A criminal record can impede your ability to find a job and housing and impact your reputation in the community. Penalties for simple assault include:

  • Third-degree misdemeanor – Up to $2,500 in fines and up to a year in jail
  • Second-degree misdemeanor – Up to $5,000 and up to two years in jail
  • First-degree misdemeanor – Up to up to $10,000 and up to five years in jail

Aggravated assault is charged as a felony in Pennsylvania and can result in much stiffer penalties. Regardless of the type of assault charges you are facing, our criminal defense attorneys can protect your rights and advise you of your legal options.

     

Potential Defense Strategies for Simple Assault

Developing an effective defense strategy involves many different elements. Our criminal defense attorneys work collaboratively to create defense strategies tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. Potential defenses for simple assault include:

  • Self-Defense – One of the most common defenses for simple assault is self-defense or defense of others. For a self-defense claim to be successful, you must show that you faced an immediate threat of injury or death and genuinely believed the use of force was necessary to defend yourself or someone else. In addition, the amount of force used must be reasonable and proportionate to the threat you faced.
  • Lack of Intent – To get a conviction for simple assault, the prosecution must prove the defendant acted intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. If your defense lawyer can show your actions were accidental or unintentional, a self-defense claim may be viable.
  • Alibi – If you can prove you were somewhere else when an alleged assault occurred, your criminal defense attorney may be able to get charges dropped or achieve a verdict of not guilty at trial. Some ways to prove an alibi include providing credible evidence such as video or witnesses who can vouch for your whereabouts when the assault happened.
  • Insufficient evidence – The prosecution is required to provide sufficient evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence presented fails to meet this standard, your assault lawyer may argue for dismissal of the charges.
  • Intoxication – Showing that a defendant was involuntarily intoxicated or taking medication with unexpected side effects can be a crucial part of a defense strategy in a simple assault case.
  • Consent – Depending on the circumstances, the defense may claim the alleged victim consented to physical contact, which negates the element of force required for a simple assault conviction.

Issues such as law enforcement failing to follow proper procedures and chain of evidence problems also can be effective elements of a defense. Our assault lawyers use their knowledge of the law and procedure to create strong defense strategies relevant to the specific circumstances.

     

Negotiating a Plea Agreement

Negotiating a plea agreement without the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney can jeopardize your freedom and future. Our lawyers advise you of all the options that may be available to you and help you understand the pros and cons of accepting a plea deal.

Negotiating a reduced charge or agreeing to a lesser sentence in exchange for pleading guilty can help you avoid more serious penalties and may mean the difference between probation and incarceration. In some cases, taking your case to trial may be a better option, especially if the prosecution’s case is weak or there is a lack of evidence. It’s vital to have an experienced assault lawyer represent your interests and act as your advocate to avoid accepting a deal that isn’t in your best interest.

     

Trial Preparation

To present an effective defense, your team must be well-prepared for trial. Our defense team investigates all aspects of your case, gathers and analyzes evidence, prepares exhibits, consults with expert witnesses if necessary, and prepares you and other witnesses for direct and cross-examination if you opt to testify.

     

Crafting a Strong Defense

Creating clear and convincing arguments is a crucial element of presenting a robust defense. Your defense lawyer may challenge the prosecution’s theories by presenting expert witness testimony and evidence that may demonstrate your innocence. It’s also vital that your criminal defense attorneys know how to cross-examine prosecution witnesses. Each case is unique, and our defense lawyers develop specialized, creative defenses that get results.

     

Establishing Reasonable Doubt

Presenting alternative theories of the crime, shining a spotlight on questionable evidence, disputing the credibility of witnesses, and pointing out inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case can create reasonable doubt and sway a jury in a defendant’s direction. Our team knows how to craft convincing arguments that demonstrate the prosecution has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

     

Sentencing for Simple Assault

Typically, the trial judge determines which penalties may be appropriate if you are convicted of simple assault. Mitigating factors such as a lack of criminal history may be considered, and your lawyer may recommend presenting positive character references. Our criminal defense attorneys also may explore sentencing options such as probation, which can help you avoid jail time.

     

Pursuing an Appeal

The appeals process in Pennsylvania is a time-consuming, complex process. There are strict deadlines and procedures for filing an appeal for a criminal conviction, so it’s vital to have an experienced criminal defense attorney handle your case. Our lawyers know how to establish proper grounds for an appeal and file motions and briefs promptly. Grounds for your appeal may include:

  • Exculpatory evidence was excluded
  • The trial judge did not consider important information
  • Rules of evidence were not followed by the prosecution
  • Witnesses for the prosecution lied under oath
  • Excessive or inappropriate sentencing
  • Unclear jury instructions
  • Grounds for appeal specific to your case

Our criminal defense attorneys keep you informed at every phase of your appeal and know how to create convincing arguments that lead to successful outcomes. We also can assist with matters such as expungement and pardons if applicable to your case.

Why Choose Gross McGinley, LLP?

Dealing with the criminal justice system is daunting. Without effective legal representation, the consequences of a conviction can be life-altering. Our team at Gross McGinley, LLP, includes seasoned defense attorneys who have experience as prosecutors as well. Each member of our team offers a unique perspective – their experience and knowledge provide the building blocks to create strong defenses in simple assault cases. We believe every defendant deserves a competent defense. Our assault lawyers are committed to fighting for your rights and providing exceptional legal representation with respect and compassion.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys in Pennsylvania

If you’ve been charged with simple assault, our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Gross McGinley, LLP, can help protect your rights and advocate on your behalf. 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. To schedule a consultation with an assault lawyer, contact us or call us at 610-820-5450.

Simple Assault Defense Lawyers in Pennsylvania Team

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Andrea Figueroa

Paralegal

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