Any time a police officer or another law enforcement agent is assaulted, the accused can face severe consequences. The crimes are taken very seriously, especially if a weapon or firearm was used, and they are heavily prosecuted. However, if you are being charged with assault on a police officer, it is important to know there still are options. A charge does not have to mean an automatic conviction.
After being arrested for a crime involving a police officer, you may feel like there is no way out. Often times it is your word against the cop, and you may think your side of the story will not be heard. However, a West Chester assault defense lawyer at the Skinner Law Firm can fight to make sure your rights are represented throughout your case.
If you are being charged with assault, the penalties can be severe. It is important you have legal counsel who is experienced in handling tough cases. The legal team at the Skinner Law Firm can tackle a complex case involving a police officer and can help you protect your freedom. Call (610) 436-1410 to schedule a free consultation.
Pennsylvania law protects a certain group of people from acts of violence. According to 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2702(c), law enforcement officers, agents, employees and others often protected under the law include:
Additionally, several other people are covered under this statute, including parking enforcement officers and psychiatric aides. Teachers, school board members and other school employees of an elementary or second school also are included.
When a person assaults a police officer or another person protected under Pennsylvania statute, the charge automatically is upgraded to aggravated assault. This means even if the offense typically would be considered simple assault, the charge would be more severe.
Assault is classified by bodily injury and serious bodily injury. Bodily injury is considered the impairment of a person’s physical condition or causing substantial pain. Serious bodily injury will cause a substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
However, even if a person assaults an officer and does not cause an injury, the offense still could be considered aggravated assault. The state can argue the accused intended to cause bodily harm or serious bodily injury to the officer. A person still could be charged based on the alleged intent.
Attempting to or intentionally causing bodily injury to a police officer in the performance of duty is a second-degree felony in Pennsylvania, according to Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §2702. This could be punished by imprisonment up to 10 years, a fine ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 or both.
If a person attempts to cause or intentionally or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer while in the line of duty he or she could be charged with a first-degree felony. This could carry up to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $25,000 or both.
Additionally, being convicted of a violent offense could have other repercussions. A person could lose his or her ability to possess a firearm, and he or she may have trouble finding housing or a job. The best way to avoid the associated repercussions is to avoid a conviction. A West Chester criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges.
If a firearm is used during an assault on a police officer or another protected agent, the offense automatically is considered a first-degree felony. However, the law enforcement officer must be in the performance of duty, and the defendant must be aware the victim is an officer.
A skilled attorney could argue the accused was unaware of the person’s status. For example, if a law enforcement officer is working undercover and is assaulted, the alleged offender could claim he or she did not know the person was a cop.
The attempt, knowingly or with intent, to cause bodily injury, is enough to result in a first-degree felony. This means the person does not have to actually be injured for a crime to be committed. This first-degree felony could mean up to 40 years in prison.
If you are charged with assaulting a police officer, contact the West Chester violent crime defense attorneys at the Skinner Law Firm. Michael J. Skinner and his legal team will fight to get a favorable outcome in your case. You do not have to face the criminal justice system alone. Call (610) 436-1410 for a free consultation.