Aggravated assault is a violent crime, which means that being convicted with serious legal and post-conviction consequences. Many offenders report that they've had trouble finding decent housing and employment after serving a sentence for aggravated assault. This is why it's important that you avoid a conviction at all costs.
The best thing you can do after acquiring aggravated assault charges is to obtain an attorney. The Lento Law Firm offers legal representation you can trust. We'll investigate your case and build a solid defense on your behalf. Remember, in our justice system, you have rights - one of which includes the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We can help you overcome these charges and achieve true justice.
A well-informed client is a client equipped for success. With that in mind, we'll provide an overview of what assault charges entail in Northampton County.
What Constitutes Aggravated Assault in Northampton County?
According to Pennsylvania statutes, a person commits aggravated assault if she or she “attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury intentionally, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.”
In order to fully understand what constitutes aggravated assault, we'll dive into the elements of this crime that must be proven for a defendant to be convicted.
Serious Bodily Injury
A person has sustained what the court considers a “serious bodily injury” when the injury has caused permanent loss, impairment, or disfigurement; or has created a substantial risk of death.
Intentionally and Recklessly
A prosecutor must convince a jury that the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly.
To act intentionally means to be aware of your actions and their consequences.
To act recklessly is to also be aware of your actions and consequences, and to consciously disregard this information during the commission of the crime. The court determines recklessness by assessing if a reasonable person in the same situation would have acted differently.
Aggravated assault is often inflicted with a deadly weapon because this weapon has a higher capacity to inflict serious bodily injury or death. Some examples of deadly weapons are guns and knives.
A baseball bat, for example, can be labeled a deadly weapon by the court if it is used to inflict serious bodily injury.
Employees and Public Officials
An element that differentiates simple assault from aggravated assault is who the victim is. The following employees and public officials are entitled to protection under Pennsylvania's aggravated assault law:
- State officials and legislators
- Law enforcement officers
- Correctional officers and parole officers
- Teachers, school board members, school employees, or any other school staff
- Judges, district attorneys, attorney general, and public defenders
- Firefighters and emergency medical service professionals
- Private detectives etc.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault
Aggravated assault is always charged as a felony.
If the aggravated assault doesn't involve serious bodily injury, it will be charged as a second-degree felony. This is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
If the aggravated assault does involve serious bodily injury or attempts to cause serious bodily injury, it will warrant penalties of a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
As aforementioned, an indictment for aggravated assault charges is determined by the prevalence of a number of factors. Attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm has an adept knowledge of the elements in a case that must be proven to prosecute a defendant of aggravated assault, and therefore understands the potential defenses to assert to disprove these elements. A defense can be convincing that it leads to a defendant's sentence being reduced or dismissed. A solid defense can even lead to the dismissal of your case altogether. The following defenses could possibly be asserted in your case if applicable:
You were acting in self-defense when the aggravated assault occurred. In order for self-defense to be justified in the eyes of the court, a few factors must be present:
- Imminent danger: this means that you were given a reason to believe that there was a danger or threat to you, or someone else.
- A rational response: your response to this imminent danger must be rational. If you respond to this danger in a way that can be perceived as irrationally aggressive or dangerous, you may not be able to justify self-defense in your case of aggravated assault.
Northampton County Criminal Defense Attorney
Aggravated assault is a very serious crime in Northampton County. To avoid a conviction, you need the help of a seasoned criminal defense attorney.
If you're looking for quality legal representation, the Lento Law Firm is the ideal firm for you. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the experience and credentials to defend and counsel people who've acquired assault charges. He will provide you with options in this predicament, build a solid defense and work towards getting your charges reduced or dropped. Mr. Lento keeps flexible office hours and is willing to work around your schedule. To set up a consultation or for more information about Mr. Lento's representation, contact the Lento Law Firm either online or by phone at 888-535-3686.