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Simple Assault Law in Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton Pennsylvania

Simple Assault – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2701

(a)  Offense defined.--A person is guilty of assault if he:

            (1)  attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or

        recklessly causes bodily injury to another;

            (2)  negligently causes bodily injury to another with a

        deadly weapon;

            (3)  attempts by physical menace to put another in fear

        of imminent serious bodily injury; or

            (4)  conceals or attempts to conceal a hypodermic needle

        on his person and intentionally or knowingly penetrates a law

        enforcement officer or an officer or an employee of a

        correctional institution, county jail or prison, detention

        facility or mental hospital during the course of an arrest or

        any search of the person.

        (b)  Grading.--Simple assault is a misdemeanor of the second

     degree unless committed:

            (1)  in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual

        consent, in which case it is a misdemeanor of the third

        degree; or

            (2)  against a child under 12 years of age by an adult 21

        years of age or older, in which case it is a misdemeanor of

        the first degree.


Relevant Case Law

Intra-Family fights & Simple Assault Law

Altercations between two juvenile members or the same family, even when they become less than civil, are usually too trivial to be target of the crime code.  In the absence of criminal or malicious intent, such intra-family spats will not support criminal prosecution.  Interest of J.L., 327 Pa. Super. 175, 475 A.2d 156 (1984)


Self Defense & Simple Assault Law

If a person has a legitimate fear of being struck by another he may strike first in order to avoid such injury.  Comm. v. Witherspoon, 730 A.2d 496 (Pa. Super. 1999)


If victim starts the fight and the defendant uses excessive force in repelling the attack the fight shall be considered one of mutual consent and should be as a 3rd degree misdemeanor rather than a 2nd degree misdemeanor.  Comm. v. Coleman, 344 Pa. Super. 481, 496 A.2d 1207 (1985)


A person may not be held criminally liable when (s)he unintentionally, even recklessly or negligently, injures an innocent bystander while using justifiable force in self defense.  Comm. v. Fowlin, 551 Pa. 414, 710 A.2d 1130 (1998)


PFA contempt and Double Jeopardy & Simple Assault Law

If a person is convicted of criminal contempt for violating a PFA he cannot be convicted simple assault if the same actions give rise to both charges.  U.S. v. Dixon & Foster, 113 S.Ct. 2849 (US 1993); Comm. v. Decker, 445 Pa. Super. 101, 664 A.2d 1028(1995)


Courthouse in Easton, Pennsylvania

Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton Family Law, DUI, Unemployment & Criminal Defense Attorney.  Lehigh Valley Lawyers

Madsen Law Offices is located in Easton, Pennsylvania and represents clients throughout the Lehigh Valley, including Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Jim Thorpe, Stroudsburg and other outlying areas.

Madsen Law Offices

1000 Paul Street

Easton, Pa 18045

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Madsen Law Offices