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What is the difference between simple and aggravated assault?

Though the terms simple battery and aggravated assault exist in criminal law in Pennsylvania, the truth is that there is nothing simple about it. If someone is found guilty of these crimes, they may find themselves facing serious penalties that can impact the rest of their life.

There are two types of assault in the state. Simple assault exists when the accused knowingly, intentionally or recklessly attempts to cause bodily harm to someone; the accused negligent causes harm to someone with a deadly weapon or attempted to make physical menace to threaten someone with imminent serious bodily harm. The elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecutor in order to prove the crime. It is considered a second degree misdemeanor, with factors that can increase the severity of the penalties.

Aggravated assault on the other hand is a more serious crime. It exists when the accused causes serious bodily injury to someone while showing an indifference to human life; causes or attempts to cause fear of bodily harm in the victim who is a firefighter, police officer or parole officer; or when someone attempts or causes intentional bodily harm to a member of a teaching community. Depending on the circumstances, aggravated assault can be either a first or second degree felony, carrying a sentence of up to 20 years.

When facing criminal state charges, it is important to understand the charges first. It is also important to remember that the accused has the right to defend themselves in a court of law, if the circumstances warrant it.

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Butler, PA 16001

Phone: 412-342-8000
Fax: 724-284-9402
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Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 724-602-4583
Fax: 724-284-9402
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