Sometimes confrontations escalate from beyond mere words to the physical realm. For obvious reasons, it is against the law to strike and hurt other people on purpose without legal justification. While many times fights or other physical confrontations may end with a summary charge of harassment or misdemeanor charges for Simple Assault, unfortunately other times you may find yourself facing felony charges of Aggravated Assault.
The offense of Aggravated Assault, is aptly named because the difference between a Simple Assault and an Aggravated Assault are the, you guessed it, aggravating factors. These are factors that make the offense more serious than just a regular fight or altercation. Factors that may take a charge from the realm of just a simple assault to an aggravated assault are: the severity of the injury, the identity or age of the person assaulted, and the use of deadly weapons. Striking, threatening, and attempting to injure cops, judges, firefighters, prison guards and a large array of other public officials while they are doing their job will also result in aggravated assault charges.
However, the most common way that an individual may receive Aggravated Assault charges instead of Simple Assault charges out of an ordinary situation is when the injury involved is a serious bodily injury. A serious bodily injury is defined as a bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. At first blush this seems incredibly serious, and it is. But that definition can be stretched to support far less serious injuries at a preliminary hearing, depending on which light the defendant’s conduct is cast and how the injury is played up.
Sometimes even when a serious bodily injury is not sustained, charges of Aggravated Assault may be deemed appropriate by the charging authority depending on the reckless or intentional conduct of the person who was involved in the fight or threats. In cases where a serious bodily injury was not sustained, it must be shown that the offensive act was performed under circumstances which almost ensured that injury or death will ensure. This is a similar state of mind as that needed for a murder charge, in fact it is often said that an aggravated assault is a murder in which for some reason death doesn’t occur.
If you or a loved one has gotten into a fight or altercation and ended up receiving criminal charges, there are defenses available to you. The use of force is justified in cases of self defense where the force was necessary to protect yourself or someone else. The best first step in preparing a competent defense to any criminal charge is to retain a qualified, experienced criminal law attorney. Attorney Frank Walker is a Nationwide Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorney with experience fighting charges of Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault in Allegheny County and the surrounding counties. With Attorney Walker on your side you can fight the charges, or get them significantly reduced.
Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia. Attorney Walker is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense, Super Lawyer and qualified as a Pennsylvania Death Penalty Defense Attorney.
If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident in WV or PA, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-532-6805, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation following a serious accident or injury.