Philadelphia Assault Lawyer
Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault are some of the most common charges in the state of Pennsylvania. They are also the most overly charged. By definition, simple assault is an attempt to cause or intentionally causing bodily injury to another. A slap on the face can be characterized as a simple assault along with a brutal fight.
Simple assault carries an offense gravity score (“OGS”) of three. This means that if you are convicted of simple assault and have no prior criminal record, probation is likely if the incident happened in Philadelphia, PA. Still you should treat the charge of assault lightly. If you are convicted of simple assault you will have a criminal conviction that cannot be expunged. There are many viable defenses to the allegations of simple assault which I will highlight below:
The government has the burden of proving you committed an assault beyond a reasonable doubt. A reasonable doubt is the highest standard of doubt in our legal system. It is the sort of doubt that causes one to pause or hesitate in making a major life decision. Proving simple assault often requires some sort of direct or physical evidence. For example if a complainant alleges she was struck or slapped, a judge will want to see photographs of injury. If the complainants entire case is that they were assaulted, but cannot provide physical evidence to corroborate their alleged injuries then the case may be won.
Finally, many assault cases lend themselves to building a strong defense. The defendant has a right to testify. In many assault cases the defendant will deny the allegations, or state the incident did not occur as stated. For example there may not have been an intent to commit a crime. Additionally, if the defendant was not the aggressor he or she may argue they were acting defensively and not criminally.
Defendants without a prior criminal record should call witnesses to testify to good character. In Pennsylvania, good character alone is enough to conclude that a defendant is not guilty. For example, if you are charged with simple assault and have never committed a crime before, you can call friends and family to testify that you have a reputation for being a peaceful citizen. This will signal to the judge; 1.) that you are peaceful; and perhaps more importantly 2.) that you have no prior criminal record.
Patently false charges of assault should be patently denied. If the government has no evidence then you should consider testifying. It is important to remember that because they consequences of a simple assault charge are usually probation, it makes sense to take the case to trial. If you are convicted of assault you will likely get probation. If you plead guilty to assault you will likely get probation. Therefore, there may be an incentive to see whether the case can be won before surrendering your clear record to the government.