Do You Need an Attorney for Simple Assault Charges in Pennsylvania?
Being charged with a crime such as simple assault in Pennsylvania is a stressful experience. If you have found yourself in this position, you are likely uncertain of your future and how your case will ultimately be resolved. You may be worried about spending time behind bars and how your case may impact your career or those you love.
Fortunately, the representation of an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer can protect your rights and ensure that your case is resolved as favorably as possible. Attorney Lauren Wimmer is a skilled advocate who is dedicated to protecting the rights of the accused. To schedule a free case evaluation with Ms. Wimmer, call our office today at 215-712-1212.
What is Simple Assault in PA?
Simple assault is addressed in Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 2701. Under this statute, you can be charged with simple assault if you do any of the following:
- Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly attempting to cause bodily injury to someone else
- Negligently using a deadly weapon causing bodily harm to another person
- Using physical threats (cannot be merely verbal threats) to put someone else in fear of bodily injury
- Concealing or trying to conceal a hypodermic needle to intentionally penetrate during the course of a search or arrest
It is important to note that assault can occur if you simply attempt to cause bodily injury to another person – no actual injury needs to occur. Simple assault in PA is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor unless:
- It occurs during a fight that is of mutual consent, which makes it a third-degree misdemeanor
- It is against a child under 12 years of age committed by someone who is at least 18 years of age, which makes it a first-degree misdemeanor
Sentencing for Simple Assault in Pennsylvania
Even though simple assault is not a felony, if convicted of this crime, you could be behind bars for a year or more and be forced to pay thousands of dollars in fines. More specifically, simple assault charges can be brought as:
- A first-degree misdemeanor is punishable by as many as five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine
- A second-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
- A third-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500
The penalties associated with a conviction can vary greatly depending on the facts of your case and the attitudes of the judge and prosecutor working on your case. Keep in mind that fines and imprisonment do not take into account the mark on your criminal record and the potential fallout it can cause in your personal, family, and career life. Collateral consequences like difficulty getting a job, sanctions imposed by your college or university, problems renting an apartment, or challenges getting a professional license can affect you for years after you have served your sentence. As a result, it’s critical to do everything you can to obtain the best outcome possible, even if the potential consequences do not seem terribly severe.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney in Philadelphia Can Help
The benefits of hiring a criminal defense lawyer in Philadelphia to represent you for your simple assault charges are many. More often than not, defendants who hire an attorney have a better outcome in their case than those who do not.
Criminal defense attorneys have a unique and in-depth knowledge of Pennsylvania criminal law and local court procedures. They can use this to their advantage to identify any loopholes or inconsistencies within the legal system that might work in your favor. Typically, they have worked with the same prosecutors and judges and know what to expect from them. Your attorney will also likely be familiar with unwritten rules in your jurisdiction, such as which prosecutors are more likely to agree to favorable plea bargains. This type of knowledge and experience could save both time and money in your case.
Sometimes the outcome of your case comes down to the negotiation skills of your attorney. Experienced criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience negotiating with various different kinds of people. They may even have some outside-the-box ideas that work in your case. Defense attorneys are well-practiced in the types of defenses that might work in your case and know how to apply them in negotiations and in court.
Prosecutors know that going to trial with a defendant who has strong legal representation for their simple assault charges will likely be harder than an unrepresented defendant. This makes them more likely to negotiate a plea deal. In some cases, a plea bargain agreement may even allow you to avoid a criminal record entirely.
It’s important to remember, however, that a criminal defense lawyer is much more likely to get you a favorable plea bargain, so you should retain an attorney even if you are planning on pleading guilty to your charges. Trying to represent yourself can often result in completely avoidable consequences that could potentially affect your life for years to come.
Another benefit of hiring an attorney to represent you is their access to vital resources in your case. For example, a witness in your case would not be very likely to speak to you directly, but they may talk with your attorney and provide valuable information about the circumstances surrounding your charges. This information could be used to help get your charges dropped or reduced. Attorneys can also hire investigators and expert witnesses to aid in your case.
Call an Experienced Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney
A Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer will be able to tell you how your case is likely to be treated in court and what you can do to prepare a successful defense. Lauren Wimmer can use her resources, knowledge, and experience to ensure the best outcome possible in your case.
Ready to schedule your legal consultation and hire the representation you deserve? Call Wimmer Criminal Defense Law today at 215-712-1212 or use our convenient online contact form.