In the past, if a heated argument turned into a physical altercation, the two individuals might get into a fist fight, dust themselves off and shake hands. These days, whenever an argument becomes physical, it could mean that both parties receive a one-way ticket to jail, not to mention thousands in fines.
Generally, if someone gets into a fight or injures another person, they will be charged with “simple assault” under Section 2701 of the Pennsylvania Code. What actions would be considered assault under Sec. 2701? Two major examples of simple assault, include:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly attempts or causes bodily injury to another person,
- Causes bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon and in a negligent manner (e.g. accidentally hurting someone with a knife), and
- By physical menace, attempts to put the victim in fear of imminent bodily injury.
Simple assault is prosecuted as a misdemeanor of the first degree if the suspect was 18 or older and the victim was a child under the age of 12.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor of the second degree, unless the suspect was involved in a physical fight where both parties entered into it by mutual consent. In the case of a fight, the simple assault charge would be a misdemeanor of the third degree.
What are the penalties involved?
The penalties for simple assault under Section 15.66 of the Pennsylvania Code are as follows:
- As a misdemeanor of the first degree, the penalties include up to a $10,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison.
- As a misdemeanor of the second degree, it’s punishable by up to a $5,000 fine and up to 2 years behind bars.
- As a misdemeanor of the third degree, it’s punishable by up to a $2,000 fine and up to 1 year in jail.
If you are facing simple assault charges due to a domestic violence case, in connection with a child custody battle, because of a fist fight, or for another reason, it’s critical that you receive high-caliber representation, especially if you were protecting a third party or acting in self-defense.