Young people, especially those away from home, sometimes find themselves in situations where split-second decisions change their lives. If these situations escalate into violence, they can find themselves facing assault charges that have both short- and long-term repercussions. Whether they were involved in a drunken brawl after a Penn State football game or participated in a hazing incident that went too far, these young people need good attorneys to help them navigate the legal system and mitigate the effects of criminal assault charges.
Simple Assault In Pennsylvania
There are several situations in which one can be charged with simple misdemeanor assault, including recklessly, knowingly or intentionally attempting to cause bodily harm. What started out as a prank can also turn into an assault if the police determine that there was menace and intimidation that led to a threat of serious injury, even if the injury didn't ultimately occur. Young people may think that there are no repercussions for a mutually agreed upon fight, but in reality both parties can face simple assault charges. People playing with guns or other deadly weapons may also face assault charges if the police believe they were negligent and caused harm to another.
Aggravated Assault In Pennsylvania
Aggravated assault is a more serious felony charge in Pennsylvania, and occurs when bodily injury is involved and the perpetrator showed extreme indifference during the assault. There are also several instances in which the involvement of a peace officer, firefighter or teacher elevates what would have been simple assault charges up to the level of aggravated assault. Someone who believes they accidentally struck an officer who was trying to break up a fight needs good legal representation to fight these more serious charges.
Short And Long-Term Repercussions Of Assault Convictions
People convicted of misdemeanor or aggravated assault in Pennsylvania may receive jail or prison time based on the specifics of their cases. Judges may also include a fine as part of the punishment. While there is a possibility that a judge will impose a reduced sentence, probation or a suspended sentence, the reality is that assault charges can result in real jail time, and people facing these charges need legal help.
People who are convicted of assault also have to worry about the long-term repercussions of their criminal records. Many employers require background checks and do not hire people who have committed certain offenses. Even students who return to school and graduate after dealing with an assault case may find themselves unable to find employment.
An experienced lawyer can help fight criminal assault charges, and can try to minimize punishment in the case of a conviction. A good attorney can prove in court that there was no attempt to harm, or that the person charged with assault was provoked or engaging in self-defense. Young people sometimes make mistakes, but when those mistakes lead to assault charges it is important to try to minimize the damage.