Since so many charges sound and are punished similarly, they can be confusing. Many ask themselves what is considered aggravated assault, especially for defenders. Typically, such cases are tried as a felony, depending on the situation. In Pennsylvania, assault can fall into three different classes of crime.
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How Does Pennsylvania Determine What is Aggravated Assault?
Aggravated assault is often considered a felony because it involves a weapon. It doesn’t always mean that a handgun or firearm was used, but it can. It’s usually counted as an additional charge along with others. The law could say that you used a weapon while intending to commit other crimes.
Some citizens fall under a protected class because their roles are essential. Others can make these charges count as hate crimes, such as:
- Sexual Identity
- Elderly Victims
- Race or Ethnicity
- National Origin
- Religious Beliefs
- Physical or Mental Disabilities
- Law Enforcement
- Educators and Social Workers
- Healthcare Providers
- First Responders
- And other classes
The opposing counsel will try and get any of these charges to stick. Remember, it doesn’t take long for a single scrape to turn into a serious crime.
What Are Aggravated Assault’s Defined Weapons?
First, the bad news: Anything that can and has caused death is considered deadly. That means, even if you didn’t use an object as a weapon, it could apply. How many of those cheesy dramas show fits of rage with everyday household items? Somehow, that innocent-looking track and field trophy is now a murder weapon.
Even if an object doesn’t take a life but leaves permanent damage, it’s considered “deadly.” Some items are already logged as these types of weapons and can be found nearly everywhere, such as:
- Knives and Cutting Tools
- Loaded Firearm/Handgun
- Unloaded Guns
- Fists and Feet
- Homemade Weapons
- Car or Vehicle
- Glass Bottle
- Metal Pipes
- Building Materials
- Stiletto Heels
- Brass Knuckles
- Nightstick/Billy Clubs
- And many other objects
If something is strong enough to break bones or cause bleeding, it’s probably deadly. Therefore, take a deep breath and think about if it’s worth spending life in prison.
What Are Aggravated Assault’s Perceived Intentions?
Even if an injury or death was an accident, it’s still a crime. Likewise, when discussing what aggravated assault is, intent plays a huge role. Most crimes are viewed as happening knowingly or recklessly to determine the final verdict. What courts look for is the level of indifference towards the lives of others.
Acting recklessly, on the other hand, usually means a disregard for the consequences. More than a true accident, it’s a conscious decision to perform uncaringly. If you injured someone out of anger, you would likely attack them knowingly. Failing your professional duties to keep others safe is a reckless assault.
What Does Aggravated Assault Charges Mean for Me?
In our state, inflicting or trying to inflict harm is deemed as an assault. Once weapons are introduced, it becomes a felony charge. As a step further, the type of injury impacts the court’s decisions. A minor scrape or bruise will likely get a less severe charge.
However, if it’s a severe enough injury, it can be given a harsher felony charge. Examples of these health concerns include such physical damages as:
- Loss of Life
- Sensory Impairment
- Loss of Senses
- Risk of Death
- Physical Disfigurement
- Brain Damage
- Memory Loss
- Comatose State
- Broken Limbs
- Excessive Bleeding
- And others
Even if you didn’t mean to hurt them that badly, it’s still a felony. So the best way to avoid prison is not to allow situations to escalate.
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