West Chester

Simple Assault Lawyer

An assault charge comes with several negative consequences that will affect your personal and professional life. It can also restrict your freedom and ability to move forward in life. A simple assault conviction in Pennsylvania can lead to jail time, probation, and hefty fines. The conviction also creates a permanent record, which harms your eligibility for federal assistance and job opportunities. It can also have significant immigration consequences, including deportation, and impact your child custody arrangement. With stakes this high, it is necessary to retain a simple assault lawyer as soon as possible.

If you are charged with a violent crime like assault in West Chester, Phoenixville, Kennett Square, Oxford, Coatesville, or anywhere in Chester County, contact attorney Michael J. Skinner. As a former Chester County prosecutor, he knows how assault cases are built and where to look for faults. He may find evidence that will lead to dropping or reducing the charges, or a pretrial dismissal. If your case is not resolved before trial, having a veteran trial lawyer will be invaluable in fighting for a favorable outcome. Contact us online or call Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 to schedule your free, confidential consultation.

Pennsylvania Simple Assault

Under 18 PA Cons Stat §2701, you can be convicted of simple assault if you:

  • Attempt to cause, or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause another person bodily injury;
  • Negligently cause another person bodily injury with a deadly weapon;
  • Attempt by physical menace to put another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or
  • Conceal or attempt to conceal a hypodermic needle on your person and intentionally or knowingly penetrate a law enforcement officer or an officer or an employee of a correctional institution, county jail or prison, detention facility, or mental hospital during an arrest or search of your person.

It is important to note that negligently, recklessly, knowingly, and intentionally are all slightly different standards. You should speak with a simple assault attorney about the specific allegations and what the prosecutor must prove to obtain a conviction.

Simple Assault: What is a Deadly Weapon?

You can be charged with assault involving a deadly weapon without using a gun. Under 18 PA Cons Stat §2301, a deadly weapon includes:

  • Any firearm, loaded or unloaded;
  • Any device designed as a weapon and capable of producing death or serious bodily injury; or
  • Any other device or instrument which, in the manner in which it is used or intended to be used, is calculated or likely to produce death or serious bodily injury.

Bodily Injury vs Serious Bodily Injury

Pennsylvania defines a bodily injury as an impairment of a person’s physical condition or substantial pain. A serious bodily injury is one that creates a:

  • Substantial risk of death;
  • Serious, permanent disfigurement; or
  • Protracted loss or impairment of a body part or organ’s function.

A prosecutor may blame you for a serious bodily injury though you may know the other person was not seriously harmed. When there is a discrepancy between the charges and what happened, talk with a simple assault lawyer about pursuing lesser charges or fighting a conviction.

Simple Assault Penalties

A prosecutor can charge you with a second-degree misdemeanor for assault. This is punishable by up to two years in prison and fines up to $5,000. You could receive probation for some portion or all of a prison sentence.

If you entered into a fight or scuffle by mutual consent, a prosecutor would charge you with a third-degree misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to one year in prison and fines up to $2,000.

This lower charge is for when you and at least one other person had a physical altercation that was not one-sided. Both or all of the people involved had to have implicitly agreed to enter into the fight.

Additionally, a prosecutor can charge you with a first-degree misdemeanor if you were 18 years or older, and the victim of the assault was a child under 12 years. This is punishable by up to five years in prison and fines reaching $10,000.

Other Types of Assault

Simple assault is only one of the over 20 specific offenses outlined under Title 18, Chapter 27 of Pennsylvania’s Consolidated Statutes.

Skinner Law Firm also will defend you against charges of:

Defending Against Assault

Upon hearing the facts of your particular case, your attorney may be able to identify defenses to an assault arrest or address other mitigating factors to reduce your charge or even have it dismissed.

Common assault defenses include

  • Self Defense: If another person attacked you, you have every right to stand up for yourself. You have the right to use reasonable force to prevent yourself from being injured or killed.
  • Defense of Others: If someone tried to harm a relative, friend, or someone else in your vicinity, you could use reasonable force to prevent injury or death.
  • Defense of Property: You are not required to retreat if someone is attempting to harm you or damage your property. You always have the right to use reasonable force to protect yourself and your home, vehicle, and other real and personal property.
  • Alleged Victim Was Not Harmed or Reasonably in Fear: You may have been in an altercation that amounted to nothing. The other party may not have been hurt or ever reasonably in fear of their safety.
  • False Allegations: Another person may be falsely accusing you of assault based on an ulterior motive, such as revenge or an attempt to influence a divorce or child custody decision.

Contact a Simple Assault Law Firm

A simple assault charge needs to be dealt with quickly and effectively by someone who understands the legal process. The faster you begin addressing this charge, the faster you will be able to move on with your life. Michael J. Skinner of the Skinner Law Firm is a former Chester County prosecutor and has defended individuals facing simple assault charges for years. He will apply his unique knowledge and experience about how both sides approach these cases and work towards improving the chances of a favorable outcome, such as a dismissal or acquittal.

To schedule your free consultation, contact Skinner Law Firm online or call (610) 436-1410 today.