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An Overview of Pennsylvania’s Simple Assault and Battery Laws

Pennsylvania law defines simple assault as an incident that involves “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly inflicting bodily injury on another person, attempting to do so or putting someone in fear of such an injury.”

The following is an overview of what you should know when charged with simple assault in Pennsylvania:

  • Bodily injury: A bodily injury is any type of physical impairment, from scratches or bruises to more severe injuries. The “knowingly” portion of the definition above is also important — the person must have been aware of what he or she was doing and the consequences of those actions. “Recklessly” means the accused acted with complete disregard of the risks of his or her actions.
  • Deadly weapon: Negligently causing injury to another person with a deadly weapon also falls under the category of simple assault. A deadly weapon can be any object capable of causing death or serious injury.
  • Physical menace: Putting another person in fear of injury is considered a form of simple assault. It’s referred to in state law as “physical menace.” However, the act of being a physical menace must involve physical acts — not just verbal threats.

Simple assault is usually a second-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, punishable by imprisonment of up to two years and fines up to $5,000. Charges are less severe when the assault is part of a fight entered into by willing parties and more severe when the assault is against a child under 12 years of age by someone 18 or older.

If you are facing simple assault charges in Pennsylvania and wish to explore your legal options, speak with a dedicated criminal defense lawyer at Bowers & Fawcett, LLC. Give us a call at 724-266-0290 or contact us online to get started.


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