Many people fail to grasp the differences between assault and battery. While battery refers to the physical act of harming someone, assault is the threat of doing so. Yet, Pennsylvania law groups the two together, with both offenses falling under its domestic assault statutes. The accompanying charges carry serious consequences that could have a lasting impact on your life.

Understanding domestic assault

Pennsylvania law recognizes two different types of domestic assault. Simple assault refers to the threat or attempt to cause physical injury to another person. Furthermore, it applies to cases where the victim sustained injuries due to the accused’s negligence while using a deadly weapon. Aggravated assault, though, happens when the victim’s injuries stemmed from the accused’s willful actions. And it also applies to cases where the accused tried to seriously injure the victim or threatened law enforcement officials with bodily harm.

The penalties for domestic assault

If you receive domestic assault charges, your potential penalties depend upon the offense in question. In most cases, simple assault leads to misdemeanor charges. If the assault stemmed from a fight, both you and the other party involved will likely face third degree misdemeanor charges. These char. Otherwise, any other act of simple assault will result in second degree misdemeanor charges. These upgrade to first degree charges if your accuser was a child younger than 12.

Aggravated assault, however, is a felony in Pennsylvania. If your accuser was a civilian, you will receive second degree felony charges. If these charges lead to conviction, you could face a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Yet, your accuser may have been a law enforcement official. In this case, you will receive first degree felony charges. And you could face a prison sentence of up to 20 years instead. With either charge, you may have to pay a fine of up to $25,000 as well.

Domestic assault refers to a broad set of behaviors in Pennsylvania, and each carries serious penalties. If you’re facing domestic assault charges, an attorney can help you understand the possible consequences and your options for moving forward.