Robert Andrews, Kim Riester
Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorneys

Assault

Simple Assault & Aggravated Assault

Assault Generally

"Assault" is the term used in the law to describe an act that is intended to or causes physical harm to another person.  Sometimes the "intent" requirement can be a different mental state, i.e., knowingly or recklessly. 

Although Domestic Violence is sometimes thought as being a different class of assault, the charges are the same.  However, Domestic Violence cases are often handled by specialized prosecutors depending on the county.   In any event, it is very important to speak to an attorney before you do anything if you have been charged or believe you will be charged with any type of an assault. 


Simple Assault

A person can be found guilty of simple assault if the person:

  1. attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;
  2. negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
  3. attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or
  4. conceals or attempts to conceal a hypodermic needle on his person and intentionally or knowingly penetrates a law enforcement officer or an officer or an employee of a correctional institution, county jail or prison, detention facility or mental hospital during the course of an arrest or any search of the person.

Simple Assault can be graded as a Misdemeanor 1, 2, or 3, depending on the facts and circumstances.


Aggravated Assault

Aggravated Assault is Felony version of Simple Assault.  Often the injuries are more severe, or a deadly weapon is used, or the person harmed is in a protected class (i.e., a police officer).  The penalties for an F1 Aggravated Assault conviction can be as long as 20 years of imprisonment.

Aggravated Assault defined:

18 Pa.C.S.A. 2702
A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he: 1) attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury intentionally, knowingly or recklessly under the circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life; 2) attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to any of the officers, agents, employees or other persons enumerated in subsection (c) (Police Officers and 37 other enumerated officials) or to an employee of an agency, company or other entity engaged in public transportation, while in the performance of duty; 3) attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to any of the officers, agents, or employees or other persons enumerated in subsection (c) (Police Officers and 37 other enumerated officials), in the performance of duty; 4)attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; 5) attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to a teaching staff member, school board member or other employee, including a student employee, of any elementary or secondary publicly funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school while acting in the scope of his or her employment relationship to the school; 60 attempts by physical menace to put any of the officers, agents, employees or other persons enumerated in subsection (c) (Police Officers and 37 other enumerated officials), while in the performance of duty, in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; 7) uses tear or noxious gas as defined in section 2708(b) (relating to use of tear or noxious gas in labor disputes) or uses an electric or electronic incapacitation device against any officer, employee or other person enumerated in subsection (c) (Police Officers and 37 other enumerated officials) while acting in the scope of his employment; 8) attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to a child less than six years of age, by a person 18 years of age or older; or 9) attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to a child less than 13 years of age, by a person 18 years of age or older.