What is the difference between simple and aggravated assault?

Writen by: on April 5, 2012

Simple Assault vs. Aggravated Assault

In Pennsylvania, simple assault is defined as when someone attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon or attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of eminent serious bodily injury.  Simple assault is usually classified as a second degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, which is punishable by up to two years in prison. However, if the simple assault was during a consensual fight, then it is a third degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to only one year in prison. If the assault involves a child under the age of 12, it is a first degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania and can result in a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.

 

Aggravated assault is defined as when someone attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury; attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes injury to a to a police officer, probation officer or other court related official or attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon. In Pennsylvania aggravated assault can either be a second degree felony punishable up to 10 years in prison or a first degree felony punishable up to 20 years in prison.

 

Common defenses to both simple assault and aggravated assault include:

  • Self-defense
  • Lack of intent / knowledge
  • No bodily injury
  • Age
  • Provocation
  • Insanity
  • Intoxication  (does not include voluntary intoxication)

Written by

Managing Partner and founder of Latoison Law, Enrique Latoison, Esq. represents a diverse portfolio of clientele, including individuals, families, businesses and working professionals, in all of their legal needs. You can find him on Google+ and facebook or write to him at [email protected]. Mr. Latoison earned his Juris Doctorate degree from the James E. Beasley School of Law at Temple University, where he received awards in class excellence and accolades in distinguished class performance and outstanding trial advocacy.