A person who causes bodily harm to another person in Pennsylvania may face assault charges. Depending on the severity of the charge, the penalties can range from time in prison and fines. There are two types of assault charges: simple assault and aggravated assault.
A person may be charged with simple assault, which may either be a second or third degree misdemeanor, if he or she causes bodily harm to another person. This harm may be caused intentionally or knowingly. Further, a person may also be charged with simple assault if negligent or reckless behavior involving a deadly weapon also causes bodily harm to another person. Finally, using physical menace in an attempt to intimidate another person may also result in a simple assault accusation.
There are also several instances where a person may be charged with aggravated assault, which may either be a first or second degree felony. For example, a person who shows an extreme indifference to human life while causing serious bodily injury could be charged with aggravated assault. This charge may also result if the person who is at risk for bodily harm is a law enforcement officer or is a member of the teaching community while at school.
In order for a person to be convicted on assault charges, the prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the person intentionally or knowingly caused bodily harm to another person. Because the legal consequences can be severe, a criminal law attorney may defend the accused person against the charges by challenging evidence or by demonstrating that it cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused person was responsible for the injuries.