Philadelphia Assault Lawyer

Facing criminal charges can be frightening due to confusing laws and serious potential penalties if convicted. If you are facing criminal charges, contact a Philadelphia assault lawyer today. A distinguished criminal attorney can help you determine the most effective defense strategy for your case.

Defining Assault

A common misconception is that an assault only occurs when someone strikes another individual. While throwing punches or physically attacking another person are both two examples of assault, the legal definition is much broader. There are many types of assault, all with related criminal charges and penalties.

The most common assault charge, simple assault, is defined as an attempt (whether intentionally or negligently) to harm another. This law also says that physically threatening someone to make them “fear imminent serious bodily injury” is an assault.

Doing something to make someone else believe they are about to be harmed is also an assault. Simple assault is a second-degree misdemeanor crime, though there are exceptions in cases involving minors and fights of mutual consent. Under state law, even misdemeanors are serious crimes.

Someone convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor simple assault could face up to two years in prison. If someone is facing assault charges in Philadelphia, it is important to contact a Philadelphia assault lawyer as soon as possible.

Types of Assault Charges

In addition to simple assault, Pennsylvania law defines many other types of assault.

Some of these crimes include:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Terroristic threats
  • Discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Ethnic intimidation

Many of these crimes range in degree from misdemeanor charges to felony charges. Felony charges can result in longer sentences than misdemeanor charges. Whether an assault is classified as a misdemeanor or felony depends on the unique circumstances of the case. Those who have prior convictions may have a more serious charge for repeat offenses.

Self-Defense Claims

Prosecutors must prove an assault was intentional, caused due to reckless behavior, or the defendant knew their actions would harm another (or cause someone else to believe they were going to be harmed). State law allows people to defend themselves to prevent bodily harm. However, those acting in self-defense can only use a reasonable amount of force to protect themselves.

Individuals should reach out to a Philadelphia assault lawyer about possible arguments for self-defense. Someone can defend themselves if they use the same amount of force as their attacker. It could be considered reasonable to defend against a punch with a similar strike. It would likely be unreasonable to defend against a punch by stabbing the attacker with a knife.

Working With an Attorney

Self-defense claims, like assault charges, rely upon the facts of the case. If you are facing assault charges, your Philadelphia assault lawyer can determine whether a self-defense claim can help. Your attorney will investigate the facts, and create best defense strategy unique to your case. Not only can an attorney defend you in court, but they will also ensure that police and prosecutors do not violate your rights.