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If you’re charged with assault or a crime involving violence, call Stroudsburg and Scranton assault crimes attorney Robert J. Munely for a free review of your case.

The most common assault charges are Simple Assault (always a misdemeanro) and Aggravated Assault (always a felony). Other assault-related charges are the misdemeanor crimes of Terroristic Threats and Recklessly Endangering Another Person, and Strangulation which can be either a misdemeanor or felony. People who are convicted of assault-type charges are usually ordered by the court to pay the victim’s medical expenses not covered by insurance and the victim‘s insurance co-pays.

In assault-type cases, the Commonwealth is most concerned with: the extent of any injuries, the relationship between the victim and the defendant, whether a weapon was used, and any past violent behavior of the defendant.

Simple Assault, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 2701, a misdemeanor, is typically when a person attempts to cause or actually causes “bodily injury” to another. The victim doesn’t have to suffer an actual injury and injuries don’t have to be serious for there to be a charge of Simple Assault. However, a mere push or shove without injuries should not rise to the level of a Simple Assault.

A sentence for a Simple Assault ranges from probation to several months in jail, depending on the victim’s injuries and the defendant’s prior record.

Aggravated Assault, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 2702, is a felony and is much more serious than a Simple Assault. A person convicted of Aggravated Assault will often serve a period of incarceration. Aggravated Assault is typically when a person attempts to cause or actually causes “serious bodily injury” to another. Serious bodily injury is when the assault act results in danger of the person dying or results in permanent or long-term injury.

Aggravated Assault can also be when a person attempts to cause or causes bodily injury to a police office or emergency medical personnel, even if there are no injuries or the injury is minor.

Terroristic Threats, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 2706, a misdemeanor, is when a person threatens to commit a crime of violence against another with the intent to terrorize that person. It’s usually a threat to do some type of physical harm to someone. The threat doesn’t have to be made in person. It can be made by text, Face Book, through a third person or by any other means of communication.

Recklessly Endangering Another Person (REAP), 18 Pa.C.S.A. 2705, a misdemeanor, is when a person does something that puts another person in danger of possibly dying or suffering a really serious injury. An example of REAP is if a person fired a gun in an area where there were a lot of people or drove drunk with a car full or kids.

Strangulation, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 2718, can be graded as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the facts of the case. Strangulation is when a person intentionally impedes the breathing of another by applying pressure to the person’s neck or blocks the person’s nose and mouth. The victim doesn’t have to be actually injured for there to be a charge of strangulation.

Defending Assault-Type Charges

Self-defense. A person has the absolute right to defend himself if he believes the use of force is necessary to protect himself against unlawful force from another. The force used to protect himself must be reasonable. It’s the Commonwealth’s burden (not the defendant’s) to prove that self-defense was not reasonable under the circumstances.

But That’s not What Happened!

Sometimes, police officers over charge in assault-type cases. Sometimes police charge Aggravated Assault when the charge should have been Simple Assault. Sometimes a person is charged with Simple Assault when it really should have been Disorderly Conduct.

Where the charges filed don’t match up with the facts of the case, the charges can be challenged at the preliminary hearing or in a jury trial.

Deadly Weapon Enhancement

People charged with assault-type charges must be mindful of deadly weapon enhancements (DWE). Often, weapons like guns or knives are possessed in assault-type cases. If convicted and a DWE enhancement applies, the person’s sentence will be increased significantly. It’s crucial, when possible, to negotiate the DWE out of the case in order to avoid a harsher sentence.

If you are charged with assault in Northeastern Pennsylvania, call Stroudsburg and Scranton assault crimes lawyer Robert J. Munley for a free, no obligation review of your case.

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