In 2018, there were approximately 3,105 assault offenses committed in Delaware County. Although this seems like a high number of incidents, it is important to consider that the county has over 550,000 residents. The average county in the U.S. has a violent crime rating of 31.1 and Delaware County has a 35.8 rating.
Understanding Aggravated Assault
Offenses of aggravated assault (§ 2702) are defined as follows:
- Attempts to create bodily injury (harm) on another person, or knowingly or recklessly shows complete indifference for the safety of others
- Attempts to create bodily harm on another person, or knowingly or recklessly shows complete indifference for the safety of “officers, agents, and employees” while “acting in the scope of their employment” or “because of their employment” including:
- Those from the police department, fire department, correctional institutions, or sheriff's department
- County officials such as parole and probation officers, members of the district attorney's office, and the court systems
- Members of the state government and state agencies
- Members of the federal government and federal agencies
- Those associated with schools, the school board, or the Department of Education
- Attempts to create bodily harm on someone knowingly or recklessly by usage of a “deadly” weapon
- Uses noxious gas or “electronic incapacitation device” on any of the aforementioned parties
- Adults who attempt to create bodily harm on children
Convictions of aggravated assault are classified as either a felony of the first or second-degree depending on various factors. A felony of the first-degree may result in penalties including up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. A second-degree conviction may result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years and also a fine of up to $25,000.
Your defense attorney may consider various types of defenses in cases of aggravated assault. It is possible that the assault involved parties that did not know one another. An alibi defense is one that may be used in cases of mistaken identity. This is likely to be effective when the defendant can prove that they were elsewhere at the time of the incident.
Another potential defense is that the defendant was acting in self-defense. Pennsylvania law allows for individuals to physically defend themselves if using the force in “self-protection.” The law justifies the use of physical force if the individual deems it to be necessary to protect them from attack.
Negotiation Involving Lesser Charges
Another defense strategy that your attorney may employ is to enter into negotiations regarding the severity of the charges. For example, there is a misdemeanor charge of harassment that may be considered. This is defined as when an individual demonstrates behavior intended to “harass, annoy, or alarm” someone by striking, shoving, kicking, or other similar physical activities.
There is also a misdemeanor assault charge that is referred to as “simple” assault. A simple assault charge also involves willingly or recklessly causing bodily harm; however, it is usually classified as a second-degree misdemeanor that has a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Lawyer in Delaware County for Defending Assault Charges
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has been effectively representing clients in Delaware County courts for many years. He will closely assess the facts and evidence associated with the charges to develop a customized defense strategy. To get started contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.