Assault and battery are serious charges. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your charges may be graded as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors are typically graded as Class 1, 2, or 3, with Class 1 misdemeanors carrying the harshest penalties. The same applies to felonies. If you are facing assault or battery charges, you need to gather evidence to either dismiss the charges or lower the severity of the charges.
You may be able to do this if you can prove evidence against you was obtained illegally, that the charges levied against you are unfair, or that there is no (or inadequate) proof of the harm you are accused of having caused. This is where an attorney can help. Contact McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. at (610) 680-7842. Our Norristown assault and battery lawyer will review your case and help determine the best course of action to fight the charges you face.
Defining Assault and Battery
The law painstakingly defines different crimes. The crime you are accused of having committed must be formally defined so that you know what kinds of proof are needed to substantiate the claims against you and so that you can take the appropriate action to dismiss the charges or lower the severity of the charges.
For example, assault–in its many forms–is formally defined in Chapter 27, Title 18 of the 2010 Pennsylvania Code. It defines everything from simple assault, harassment, strangulation, and terrorism to what constitutes probable cause and reckless endangerment.
In most cases, the basic definitions of assault and battery below can be used as a starting point for your defense unless a specific category of crime is mentioned in your charges. With that in mind, here is how assault and battery are usually defined.
Inflicting–or attempting to inflict–harm on someone else. The threat of physical violence, harassment, stalking, abuse, and some forms of neglect can be classified as assault.
Simple assault and aggravated assault are two categories of charges that are highly common in criminal cases. Simple assault includes an attempt to cause or to intentionally cause bodily harm to someone else. Doing so as a result of recklessness or negligence is also included, as is any attempt to put someone else in fear of imminent bodily injury. Aggravated assault involves more serious harm and typically involves more serious-minded and concerted attempts to harm someone.
Charges of battery mean you are accused of having physically harmed someone. The presence or absence of signs of harm such as bruises, cuts, black eyes, or swelling can be used to determine the extent of harm a victim may have suffered, as per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). As is true for assault, battery can also take many forms, and the evidence against you will determine what specific charges the prosecution levies against you.
The differences between simple assault, aggravated assault, and battery can be further illustrated by analyzing the penalties that apply to each type of crime. We discuss these penalties in the next section.
Simple assault usually does not lead to any form of serious injury. Brandishing a weapon at someone or threatening to harm them with your vehicle can lead to charges of simple assault classified as a second-degree misdemeanor and up to two years in prison. If both parties knowingly and willingly entered into an altercation, you may face a third-degree misdemeanor charge and up to one year in prison. If you assault someone under the age of 12, you can face first-degree misdemeanor charges and up to five years in jail.
Felony assault or aggravated assault are violent crimes, and they carry harsh punishments. You can face jail time and fines and be labeled a felon for life.
Causing serious bodily harm with indifference to human life or seriously harming or injuring a police officer or other public safety official can lead to aggravated assault charges graded as a second-degree felony and up to 10 years in jail. Depending on the circumstances of your case, the second-degree felony charge can be changed to a first-degree felony, and you can face as much as 20 years in prison.
Other factors that can potentially impact the sentences, fines, and penalties you may face for assault and battery include:
- Your past criminal history (if any)
- The specific laws that govern the crime that allegedly occurred
- The severity of the victim’s injuries
- The strength of the evidence against you
- The quality of your representation
Contact McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. at (610) 680-7842 to discuss your case. It is important at the outset that you fight the charges you face and the grading of those charges and their applicable penalties. Our Norristown assault and battery lawyer is here to help, so do not hesitate to contact us to see if we can take your case.
Fighting Your Charges
There are many ways that assault and battery charges can be fought. Consider the following:
- Did law enforcement agents have probable cause to identify or arrest you?
- Were you illegally stopped or searched, or was any evidence illegally confiscated from you?
- Is there any relevant history between you and your accuser that may explain why he or she identified you as the perpetrator of the crime in question? It is not uncommon for innocent individuals to be implicated in crimes as an act of revenge by others.
- Are the charges you are facing fair and based on evidence?
- Are any penalties the prosecution is seeking fair and commensurate to the victim’s alleged injuries and other relevant circumstances surrounding your case?
- What definitions of assault and/or battery have been used in the charges you face? Are they fair and accurate in terms of the injuries, harm, or damage in question?
- Can a reasonable settlement or understanding be reached with the victim?
We can help you answer these questions and can build a defense based on the circumstances of your case and the evidence at hand.
Contact Us Today
Call McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. at (610) 680-7842 to discuss your case. Our Norristown assault and battery lawyer can review your case to determine the grounds on which your case can potentially be defended and will keep you apprised on what you need to know about the law, evidence collection, and dealing with the prosecution along the way. Do not hesitate to reach out to us today.