An assault conviction in Montgomery County, PA can lead to jail time, an expensive fine, and a permanent criminal record. This could prevent you from passing a background check, getting a job, joining the military, owning a gun, or even renting an apartment. If you are facing assault charges, a Montgomery County assault lawyer can fight for the best outcome in your case so you can get on with your life.
McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., is led by criminal defense attorney David McKenzie, a former prosecutor who spent the beginning of his career working on the other side of cases like yours. From this experience, he knows the tactics the prosecution might use against you and can create an aggressive defense.
Simple Assault vs. Aggravated Assault
There are two kinds of assault charges in Pennsylvania: simple assault and aggravated assault. Although one is a misdemeanor and the other is a felony, both charges carry significant penalties that can haunt you for years after you have paid your debt to society.
The details of the allegations against you determine whether you get charged with simple assault (a misdemeanor) or aggravated assault (a felony).
In most cases, simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor in Montgomery County. However, if the assault is part of a fight entered into by mutual consent, it is a third-degree misdemeanor; if it occurs against a victim 12 years or younger by a suspect 18 years or older, it is a first-degree misdemeanor.
You can get convicted of simple assault in Pennsylvania if the prosecution can prove any of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You knowingly or recklessly caused or attempted to cause bodily injury to another person.
- You negligently caused bodily injury to another person using a deadly weapon.
- You used physical menace to attempt to put another person in fear of imminent bodily injury.
- You used or attempted to use a hypodermic needle, which you concealed or attempted to conceal on your person, to penetrate a law enforcement officer or an employee of a correctional institution, detention center, or mental health facility during an arrest or search of your person.
Aggravated assault is a felony in Pennsylvania. If committed against a police officer, correctional officer, or firefighter, it is a first-degree felony. If committed against anyone else, it is a second-degree felony in most cases.
A judge may convict you of aggravated assault in Pennsylvania if the prosecution can prove any of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You caused “serious bodily injury” to another person and, in doing so, demonstrated an extreme disregard for human life.
- You placed or attempted to place a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or firefighter in fear of their life while they were on the job or performing job-related duties.
- You intentionally caused or attempted to cause serious bodily harm to a teacher or school employee while they were on the job or performing job-related duties.
- You used a stun gun or noxious gas to incapacitate any government employee listed above while they were on the job or performing job-related duties.
Note: Under Pennsylvania laws, “battery” and assault are the same offense.
Penalties for an Assault Conviction in Pennsylvania
If you are convicted of assault in Pennsylvania, you can expect severe consequences, which may include jail time, a fine, probation, and a permanent mark on your criminal record.
The severity of the punishment depends upon your specific charges.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor of the first, second, or third-degree (usually the second). It carries the following penalties:
- First-degree misdemeanor: Up to five years’ imprisonment.
- Second-degree misdemeanor: Up to two years’ imprisonment.
- Third-degree misdemeanor: Up to one year’s imprisonment.
Aggravated assault is a felony of either the first or second degree. It carries the following penalties:
- First-degree felony: Up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
- Second-degree felony: Up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
An assault lawyer in Montgomery County from the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can aggressively defend you against any assault charge.
How an Assault Lawyer in Montgomery County Can Help
An assault lawyer in Montgomery County, PA can help you move past an assault charge and get on with your life. For the charge to stick, the prosecutor must prove you intended to injure the victim, and you knowingly inflicted harm, among other things.
We do not have to prove you are innocent of these charges; we simply have to create enough doubt that the prosecution cannot prove you are guilty.
We can create reasonable doubt in your case using a wide range of possible defenses, including:
- You did not intend to harm the other person.
- You did not knowingly inflict injury upon the other person.
- The other person did not suffer bodily injury from the incident.
- You were acting in a manner of self-defense when you inflicted harm on the other person.
- The other person provoked you to an unreasonable degree.
- You had unknowingly taken intoxicating substances, which impaired your judgment.
The attorneys at McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. can help defend you against these charges. If you choose our firm, you can expect us to do the following:
- Complete and file all legal forms promptly
- Examine all of the evidence against you and create a defense
- Help you prepare to testify if needed
We Will Fight For Your Freedom
Just because you have been charged with assault doesn’t necessarily mean you will be convicted or have to serve time. At McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we can work to keep you from suffering from the consequences that come with an assault conviction. When you work with our firm, you get:
- A free consultation. We offer free consultations to all potential clients. During the consultation, we will hear your side of the story to find out why you were charged with assault. We can explain your legal options and how our attorneys can help you fight this charge. By the end of the consultation, we want you to have all of your questions answered and to feel confident about reaching a positive outcome with your case.
- 24/7 availability. Someone from our firm is available to answer your calls at all times. If you have questions or need a status update, someone will be there to provide you with an answer. Our firm knows the importance of having good communication with clients. When you are our client, we will always return phone calls and emails promptly.
- Our attorneys will fight for your charges to get dismissed or reduced. We know how devastating an assault conviction can have not only on your legal record but also on your future professional and personal life. We will do everything we can to help you keep a clean record and not add an assault conviction.
- Representation in and out of court. We will advocate aggressively for your innocence or to get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Your Rights After Being Charged With Assault
After being arrested for assault, you may not know your rights or how to defend yourself from these charges. It is important to know your rights so you can do everything you can to defend your case. Your rights after being charged with assault include:
- The right to hire a defense attorney. A Montgomery County assault lawyer from McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. will be by your side throughout the case to help you defend your rights.
- The right to know why you are being arrested. During the time of the arrest, if the officers take you anywhere, they must state why you are being arrested.
- The right to refuse to make statements that could be incriminating.
- The right to enter a guilty or not guilty plea in front of a judge. Our attorneys will review the plea agreement to help you determine your best option.
Being a defendant in a criminal court case can be scary. We will support you throughout the legal proceedings and make sure your rights aren’t being violated.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation
McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. is ready to defend you against assault charges. Our founding attorney is a former criminal prosecutor who is familiar with the tactics used by the other side. He can put his knowledge and resources to work for you. For a free case evaluation, call (610) 680-7842 today.