What Is The Difference Between Simple Assault And Aggravated Assault In Pennsylvania?

AssaultAssault is a common charge in the state of Pennsylvania, and there are enormous variations in the severity of the crime that it can refer to. At its most basic level, assault can be classified as simple or aggravated. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two, and the ways that the charge can be further broken down within each category.

Simple Assault

When an assault is classified as simple, it includes a situation where bodily injury has happened as a result of:

  • Happening or having been attempted either intentionally or recklessly
  • Happening due to negligence in the use of a deadly weapon
  • Happening or having been attempted as a result of hiding a hypodermic needle on one’s person and then penetrating either a police officer or employee while being arrested or searched

Simple assault can also include referring to assault through physical menace or even making a person fear that they will suffer imminent injury.

Simple assault is a lower level crime known as a misdemeanor that is graded and penalized based on its severity. In most cases it is considered a misdemeanor of the second degree, carrying a sentence of up to two years in jail and a fine up to $5,000, though if simple assault involved a perpetrator who is 21 or older and a victim 12 or younger, it is automatically more serious and is classified as a first degree misdemeanor with a potential sentence of five years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Aggravated Assault

When an assault is classified as aggravated, it is a more serious charge that generally involves either the use of weapons or an attack on a police officer or incident where serious bodily injury is the intent. If there is actual injury through the use of a deadly weapon, it is classified as second-degree aggravated assault, and carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in jail and up to a $25,000 fine, while if the injury (whether attempted or actualized) is meant to cause serious bodily injury, it would be categorized as a first degree aggravated assault, which would boost the maximum sentence to 20 years and the fine up to $25,000.

It’s important to note that aggravated assault can be charged simply for the intent to cause serious bodily injury. If you or someone you love has been charged with assault of any kind, you need an experienced attorney who can help you to minimize the charge. Contact us today to see how we can help.