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Pennsylvania Criminal Defense

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Home » blog » What is the difference between simple and aggravated assault?

Violent crimes come a variety of forms. When you hear the word assault, odds are you know the crime attached to it. What about simple and aggravated assault? While the words themselves might sound self-explanatory, there are very crucial differences between the two. One of the most important differences includes how much of a charge one type of assault carries over the other. 

Simple assault, according to the Pennsylvania legislature, involves the attempt to cause injury to another person, either intentionally or through recklessness. In addition, some examples of simple assault include: 

  • Negligently injuring someone with a deadly weapon 
  • Attempting to hide a needle with the sole purpose of penetrating a law enforcement officer 
  • Putting the fear of imminent harm into a person 

Simple assault can be a misdemeanor in the second degree in most cases. Though if two parties enter into a fight consensually, it may become simple assault in the first degree. 

How does this differ from aggravated assault? In aggravated assault, a person must attempt serious bodily injury to another with no consideration or value towards human life. Aggravated assault is also any assault against officers, agents or other people in the performance of duty. Aggravated assault is a more serious charge than simple assault. In fact, when charged with aggravated assault, you may wind up with a felony on your record. 

Violent crimes often lead to life-changing punishments. The penalties for these crimes are often harsh. The difference between simple and aggravated assault is sometimes as simple as who you perform the violent crime against. For more information on violent crimes, visit our web page.