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What's a 'Simple Assault' in PA?

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Simple Assault involving domestic violence is a frequently charged misdemeanor offense in Pennsylvania

Couple on sofa fighting, man's hand raised, woman flinching. photo

By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Simple Assault Attorney, Harrisburg, PA

'Simple Assault' is generally a misdemeanor 2 offense in PA, punishable by up to 2 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.  It is frequently charged in connection with a domestic violence incident involving spouses, family or significant others.  The definition of the crime is as follows:

18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2701,  Simple assault (a) Offense defined.--A person is guilty of assault if he:

  1. Attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;
  2. Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
  3. Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or
  4. Conceals or attempts to conceal a hypodermic needle on his person and intentionally or knowingly penetrates a law enforcement officer or an officer or an employee of a correctional institution, county jail or prison, detention facility or mental hospital during the course of an arrest or any search of the person.

There are really three things that a simple assault can be when looking at a domestic violence case.  First, one can be charged with having caused 'bodily injury' to another.  Next, causing injury negligently to another with a deadly weapon.  For instance, you get out a knife to threaten them and accidently cut them when you are struggling.  Finally, by 'physical menace.'  In other words, you take out the knife and threaten them with it.

If you have been charged with a simple assault relating to domestic violence, it's important to have counsel represent you at the preliminary hearing.  Do not go into court without counsel.  You may call Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.

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