Assault charges in Pennsylvania come with varying degrees of severity, and the potential penalties reflect this. The amount of jail time you might face for an assault conviction depends on the specific circumstances of your case and the classification of the assault charge.
Pennsylvania classifies assault charges into two main categories: simple assault and aggravated assault. Each category has different potential penalties based on the severity of the crime and the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor charge in Pennsylvania. It occurs when someone intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person or puts someone in fear of imminent bodily harm. The penalties for simple assault vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. For example, if the assault occurs during a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, the maximum penalty is up to five years in prison.
If the assault is against a child under 12 by an adult 21 or older, the maximum penalty is up to two years in prison.
In all other cases of simple assault, the maximum penalty is up to one year in prison.
Aggravated assault is a more severe charge and the courts classify it as a felony. It occurs when someone intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person or a public servant, such as a police officer or firefighter. The penalties for aggravated assault also depend on the specific circumstances of the case:
- First-degree felony: If the assault is against a public servant, the maximum penalty is up to 20 years in prison.
- Second-degree felony: In all other cases of aggravated assault, the maximum penalty is up to ten years in prison.
It is important to understand the differences between simple assault and aggravated assault and the potential penalties for each, as this information can help you navigate the legal process.