If you have been charged with or you are being investigated for a Violent Crime like the crime of Aggravated Assault, it is imperative that you retain the services of an experienced Aggravated Assault Attorney immediately. Aggravated Assault is a very serious crime. In most instances, Aggravated Assault is graded as a felony of the first degree and punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Before we analyze possible defenses to the crime of Aggravated Assault, we must understand the elements that the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction against the accused.
In order to be found guilty of the crime of Aggravated Assault the government must proof that the Defendant:
(1) attempted to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury intentionally, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life;
(2) attempted to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to any of the officers, agents, employees or other persons enumerated in subsection (c) or to an employee of an agency, company or other entity engaged in public transportation, while in the performance of duty; or
Defenses to the charge of Aggravated Assault: (See also Pa law on Use of Force)
The First Defense to the crime of Aggravated Assault is to assert that the government cannot prove that the alleged victim was seriously injured. In order for an accused to be convicted the government must prove that serious bodily injury was caused by the Defendant. Serious Bodily Injury is defined as: "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."
This standard of serious bodily injury is a very high bar for the government to reach. Examples of serious bodily injury are broken orbital bones, a broken leg and a stab wound to the stomach. Frequently, the police will charge Defendant's with Aggravated Assault even when they can't prove that the alleged victim was seriously injured.
The Second Defense against Aggravated Assault charges is that even though the alleged victim was seriously injured, the accused did not intend to cause it. An example of this could occur if the injured person was struck once and then suffered a heart attack or fell and slipped on the ice and struck their head after being struck by the accused.
If you are charged with this crime, make sure you speak with an Aggravated Assault Lawyer who understands the definition of Serious Bodily Injury.