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Assault Defense Attorney
It may be embarrassing to admit, but many people have been part of a scuffle. Heated arguments can easily turn into unintended threats or shoving, particularly if alcohol is involved. However, when you are immediately facing assault charges, you may not feel embarrassed. Right now, you are probably scared about what comes next and clueless as to what you can do to avoid a conviction and harsh punishment.
An experienced criminal defense attorney from Czekaj Law, LLC has years of experience, and can handle all manners of assault charges. Whether you are dealing with a baseless accusation or you allegedly caused someone serious harm, we can help. We will thoroughly review your case to determine the best strategy to protect your rights and to defend you in court.
Call us today at (717) 275-9770 to learn more.
You may be charged and convicted of simple assault if you:
- Attempt to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or reckless 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
- Hide or attempt to hide a hypodermic needle on your person and intentionally or knowingly penetrate a law enforcement officer with it during an arrest or search of your person
It is absolutely essential that you realize all of the different scenarios that can lead to a simple assault charge. You can be charged with this offense even if you do not touch another person, and even if the alleged victim does not suffer any physical injuries. Physical contact and harm are not required to be convicted of simple assault.
Penalties for Simple Assault
Simple assault is typically charged as a second-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 2 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
However, the charge can be higher or lower. If you got into a fight with another person through mutual consent, then it is a third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year of incarceration and up to a $2,500 fine. If you are over 18 and you commit the assault against a child under 12 years old, then the offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 5 years of incarceration and a maximum fine of $10,000.
You may face the more serious offense of aggravated assault under a number of circumstances, including but not limited to if you:
- Attempt to cause serious bodily injury to another person, or cause serious injury intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly under circumstances demonstrating an extreme indifference to the value of human life
- Attempt to cause or intentionally or knowingly cause bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon
- Are over 18 and you attempt to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to a child younger than 6
- Are over 18 and you attempt to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause serious bodily injury to a child younger than 13
You can also be charged with aggravated assault based on who your alleged victim was. You will face aggravated assault charges for in anyway assaulting a:
- Police officer
- Probation or parole officer
- Correctional institute employee
- On-duty public transit employee
- Teacher, school board member, or other school employee
Penalties for Aggravated Assault
Depending on the specifics of the offense, you may be charged with a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years of incarceration and up to $25,000. Other circumstances lead to a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
The Criminal Court Process
If you are arrested based on an assault charge, the first step in the Pennsylvania criminal court process is your preliminary arraignment. After you are arrested and booked, you will be taken before a local magistrate. This person reviews the situation and your history to determine an appropriate bail amount. You could be released on your own recognizance, be required to pay a certain amount of money to be released, or you could be denied bail entirely, which is usually reserved for serious felonies.
Next you will attend your preliminary hearing where the prosecutor for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has to show probable cause that you are the person who committed the crime. If they establish enough evidence, then you will be charged and your case moves forward. If not, the magistrate dismisses the charges.
You should have an assault lawyer by the time of your preliminary hearing. This is not a full trial, but your lawyer can lay a great deal of ground work here and protect your rights. With an experienced attorney by your side, you have a greater chance of having the charges dismissed.
If the Commonwealth can move forward with charges, then the next step is your formal arraignment. Here you will hear the exact charges against you, be advised of your rights, and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
Your case may go through pre-trial conferences and motions. During this time, your aggravated assault attorney may be working to have the case dismissed or to have certain evidence ruled inadmissible. The judge assigned to your case may be looking for whether your charges could be settled quickly, or they may be more likely to move forward with trial.
Finally, you arrive at your trial. Your aggravated assault attorney will present evidence on your behalf and attack the Commonwealth’s evidence against you. If you are found guilty by a judge or jury, then your next court appearance will be your sentencing hearing.
To learn more about the criminal court process you can expect after being charged with assault or aggravated assault, contact a Perry County lawyer as soon as possible at (717) 275-9770 . The sooner you have a defense attorney on your case, the better.
Defending Against Assault Charges
To build a strong defense, you need an experienced and skilled assault lawyer who is prepared to review all of the potential defenses. At Czekaj Law, LLC, we are ready to look over every aspect of your case to determine the strongest defense strategy for your circumstances. Some potential defenses for simple or aggravated assault charges include:
- In defense of others
- Challenging whether you had intent for the offense
- Challenging whether the prosecutor has enough evidence to prove you committed the offense beyond a reasonable doubt
Let Our Assault Lawyer Help You
Do not let fear and worry lead you to make rash decisions after you’re charged with assault. You do not have to hurriedly accept a plea bargain or plead guilty because you think that will be easier than fighting the charges leveled against you. Despite the intimidating circumstances, you can make a smart decision for yourself and contact the Pennsylvania assault attorney at Czekaj Law, LLC. Our attorney have experience with a variety of criminal cases, and we are ready to review the charges against you and determine your best course of action.