Pennsylvania distinguishes between simple assault and aggravated assault. If you face assault charges, the circumstances of the case will determine the type of conviction the defendant may receive if found guilty.
Review the difference between simple and aggravated assault in Pennsylvania.
The state can impose simple assault charges against someone if he or she:
- Recklessly, knowingly or intentionally tried to cause bodily harm to someone else
- Stabbed a correctional officer or guard with a hypodermic needle during an arrest or search
- Intimidated someone with the threat of harm or physical injury
- Negligently harmed someone with a deadly weapon
Most simple assaults result in second-degree misdemeanor charges. A conviction carries a fine of $500 to $5,000 and up to two years in prison. The court can downgrade these charges when both parties actively engaged in a fight or brawl that resulted in the injury.
An offender can receive charges for aggravated assault if he or she:
- Shows extreme indifferent to human life while seriously harming another person
- Incapacitates a correctional officer, sheriff, firefighter or police officer with a stun gun or tear gas while he or she is on duty
- Causes or attempts to knowingly and intentionally cause serious bodily harm to a teacher on duty at a school
- Threatens, harms or attempts to harm a correctional officer, sheriff, firefighter or police officer with a stun gun or tear gas while he or she is on duty
Pennsylvania charges most aggravated assaults as second-degree felonies. A conviction carries up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 to $25,000. However, an offender can receive up to 20 years for aggravated assault against a police officer.