A night out at the local bar ended with your arrest. You find yourself charged with assault, and your memory of what happened may be a bit fuzzy.
In Pennsylvania, there are two different types of assault charges: simple and aggravated. Simple assault is generally a misdemeanor offense while aggravated assault is a felony offense. The courts treat both types seriously, though the consequences attached to each are quite different.
Conviction and consequences
Prosecuting attorneys have the burden of proving you committed a crime. In assault cases, this means they have to prove that specific elements exist in your case. These elements are:
- You threatened violence
- You acted on that threat
- You intend to cause harm
- The victim felt legitimate fear for his or her safety
For aggravated assault cases, one more element must exist, and that is that you used a weapon of some sort in your attack. This is the key difference between simple and aggravated assault cases.
If found guilty of assault, you may face jail or prison time. You may also have to pay fines and restitution to the victim.
Two sides to every story
You will have your story and the alleged victim will have his or hers. Many people think that the victim's story is the one that counts, but that is not true. If that were true, a lot more people would be behind bars for crimes they did not commit. You have the right to share your side if you wish and fight to protect your freedom.
Wondering how you can fight an assault charge? There are actually various defense strategies for such cases. A few include:
- Claiming self-defense
- Claiming you were defending someone else
- Claiming defense of property
Legal counsel can review your case and help find the defensive strategy that is just right for your situation.
Is it possible to fight assault charges? Yes, it is. Will it prove to be an easy task? Not likely.
You do not have to let your night out at a bar define the rest of your life. You do not need to let accusations of assault ruin the rest of your life. With help, you can do everything possible to protect yourself and seek the best possible outcome under the circumstances.