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Aggravated Assault Attorneys

Lehigh Valley Criminal Defense Attorneys

Aggravated Assault Attorneys in Easton Pennsylvania, Serving Lehigh & Northampton County

Our Lehigh Valley Criminal Defense Law Firm has attorneys for Aggravated Assualt Charges in Northampton & Lehigh County

Our Aggravated Assault Defense Attorneys Represent Defendants in Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton and throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley

Our Aggravated Attorneys have represented numerous individuals charged with Aggravated Assault in Easton, Allentown, Bethlehem & the Greater Lehigh Valley. We have successfully had Lehigh & Northampton County Aggravated Assault charges dismissed or downgraded.

In Pennsylvania, Aggravated Assault is graded as a felony offense. Although unlikely, the sentence for aggravated assault can reach up to 20 years in prison.

Aggravated Assault charges are often the result of the police or district attorney overreaching on what would otherwise be a simple assault charge. Other times Aggravated Assault is charged in Lehigh County & Northampton County when the alleged victim holds a certain status, such as a police officer or paramedic. Often, these charges may be dismissed because the defendant did not have the requisite intent or the injury was not serious enough to constitute the crime. Police are also prone to charge every individual involved in an altercation involving a gun with aggravated assault but, to do so, they must be able to prove that the gun could actually fire and the person charged had the intent to do more than simply scare someone else.

Our Criminal Defense Attorneys in Easton, Pennsylvania are here to help.  Call now if you, or a loved one, are facing Aggravated Assault charges.

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Local Criminal Defense Law Office to subpoena a sitting Judge in a criminal case.

First

Law Office to achieve release on bail for a client incarcerated on a Northampton County Detainer

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Local Law Firm to have a Prosecutor assert fifth amendment when questioned under oath in our case.

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Law Firm to utilize independent blood test results in a Northampton County DUI case to result in a dismissal of charges.

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Law Firm to achieve the emergency release of Northampton County inmates during the COVID-19 Crisis pro bono & first overall.

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Law Firm to successfully challenge the Northampton County ARD Programs' lack of individualized hearings.

Our Approach to Defending Aggravated Assault Charges in the Lehigh Valley

Aggressive Aggravated Assault Lawyers in Easton, Allentown & Bethlehem

Early Intervention & Aggressive Aggravated Assault Defense

Early Retention of a Lehigh Valley Criminal Defense Attorney is the Best Defense to Aggravated Assault Charges in Easton, Allentown & Bethlehem

When at all possible we want to be involved in a Lehigh or Northampton County Aggravated Assault case as early as possible.  As time passes, memories fade or distort and witnesses may become harder and harder to track down.  Security camera footage in Allentown, Bethlehem or Easton may be overwritten and cell phone records may be destroyed.  The earlier we are contacted, the better outcome we can achieve. 

 

When at all possible, we prefer to be involved in an Aggravated Assault case, prior to the Preliminary Hearing in order to maximize our ability to defend against the Aggravated Assault charges.  It is often imperative that an Aggravated Assault Lawyer be able to hold a preliminary hearing to test the Commonwealth’s evidence in an Aggravated Assault case.  Contact our Criminal Defense Lawyers to learn more.

Aggravate Assault Law in Easton, Pennsylvania

Below you can find the Pennsylvania Aggravated Assault Statute and some precedent favorable to the Defense of Aggravated Assault Charges

Aggravated assault - 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2702

Aggravated assault – 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2702

(a) Offense defined.–A person is guilty of aggravated
assault if he:
(1) attempts 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) attempts 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;
(3) attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly
causes bodily injury to any of the officers, agents,
employees or other persons enumerated in subsection (c), in
the performance of duty;
(4) attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly
causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
(5) attempts to cause or intentionally or knowingly
causes bodily injury to a teaching staff member, school board
member or other employee, including a student employee, of
any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational
institution, any elementary or secondary private school
licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or
secondary parochial school while acting in the scope of his
or her employment or because of his or her employment
relationship to the school;
(6) attempts by physical menace to put any of the
officers, agents, employees or other persons enumerated in
subsection (c), while in the performance of duty, in fear of
imminent serious bodily injury; or
(7) uses tear or noxious gas as defined in section
2708(b) (relating to use of tear or noxious gas in labor
disputes) or uses an electric or electronic incapacitation
device against any officer, employee or other person
enumerated in subsection (c) while acting in the scope of his
employment.
(b) Grading.–Aggravated assault under subsection (a)(1) and
(2) is a felony of the first degree. Aggravated assault under
subsection (a)(3), (4), (5), (6) and (7) is a felony of the
second degree.
(c) Officers, employees, etc., enumerated.–The officers,
agents, employees and other persons referred to in subsection
(a) shall be as follows:
(1) Police officer.
(2) Firefighter.
(3) County adult probation or parole officer.
(4) County juvenile probation or parole officer.
(5) An agent of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and
Parole.
(6) Sheriff.
(7) Deputy sheriff.
(8) Liquor control enforcement agent.
(9) Officer or employee of a correctional institution,
county jail or prison, juvenile detention center or any other
facility to which the person has been ordered by the court
pursuant to a petition alleging delinquency under 42 Pa.C.S.
Ch. 63 (relating to juvenile matters).
(10) Judge of any court in the unified judicial system.
(11) The Attorney General.
(12) A deputy attorney general.
(13) A district attorney.
(14) An assistant district attorney.
(15) A public defender.
(16) An assistant public defender.
(17) A Federal law enforcement official.
(18) A State law enforcement official.
(19) A local law enforcement official.
(20) Any person employed to assist or who assists any
Federal, State or local law enforcement official.
(21) Emergency medical services personnel.
(22) Parking enforcement officer.
(23) A magisterial district judge.
(24) A constable.
(25) A deputy constable.
(26) A psychiatric aide.
(27) A teaching staff member, a school board member or
other employee, including a student employee, of any
elementary or secondary publicly funded educational
institution, any elementary or secondary private school
licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or
secondary parochial school while acting in the scope of his
or her employment or because of his or her employment
relationship to the school.
(28) Governor.
(29) Lieutenant Governor.
(30) Auditor General.
(31) State Treasurer.
(32) Member of the General Assembly.
(33) An employee of the Department of Environmental
Protection.
(34) An individual engaged in the private detective
business as defined in section 2(a) and (b) of the act of
August 21, 1953 (P.L.1273, No.361), known as The Private
Detective Act of 1953.
(35) An employee or agent of a county children and youth
social service agency or of the legal representative of such
agency.
(36) A public utility employee or an employee of an
electric cooperative.
(d) Definitions.–As used in this section, the following
words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this
subsection:
“Electric or electronic incapacitation device.” A portable
device which is designed or intended by the manufacturer to be
used, offensively or defensively, to temporarily immobilize or
incapacitate persons by means of electric pulse or current,
including devices operated by means of carbon dioxide
propellant. The term does not include cattle prods, electric
fences or other electric devices when used in agricultural,
animal husbandry or food production activities.
“Emergency medical services personnel.” The term includes,
but is not limited to, doctors, residents, interns, registered
nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse aides, ambulance
attendants and operators, paramedics, emergency medical
technicians and members of a hospital security force while
working within the scope of their employment

Relevant Aggravated Assault Case Law

Intent & Aggravated Assault
To commit an aggravated assault, one must either cause or attempt to cause serious bodily injury to another. Intentionally putting someone in fear of such injury is not sufficient to establish aggravated assault. Comm. v. Paige, 287 Pa. Super. 133, 429 A.2d 1135 (1981)

Self defense & Aggravated Assault
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)

One Punch & Aggravated Assault
A single punch resulting a broken nose is insufficient to establish serious bodily injury or intent to cause serious bodily injury if the victim had reason to believe he may be hit. Comm. v. Alexander, 477 Pa. 190, 383 A.2d 887 (1978). But a single punch resulting in a broken nose and a severed artery may be sufficient to establish serious bodily injury. Comm. v. Caterino, 451 Pa. Super. 42, 678 A.2d 389 (1996)

However, a “sucker” punch, to an unsuspecting victim may establish requisite intent for aggravated assault. Com. V. Burton, 2 A.3d 598 (Pa.Super. 2010); Commonwealth v. Patrick, 933 A.2d 1043 (Pa. Super. 2007)

Guns & Aggravated Assault
Pointing an unloaded gun at a victim as a threat to cause serious bodily injury is sufficient for simple assault but cannot constitute aggravated assault. Comm. V. Savage, 275 Pa. Super. 96, 418 A.2d 629 (1980)

Conditional threats while pointing a handgun at victim may not be sufficient to establish aggravated assault. “(Defendant’s) words and actions in (this case) are in the nature of an implied conditional threat, i.e., either let me in the house or I may shoot you. Such a threat, conditioned on the victim’s performance of some act, is insufficient to prove aggravated assault. This is because the sated condition goes to the defendant’s present intent at the time the threat is issued.” Comm. v. Alford, 880 A.2d 666 (Pa. Super. 2003)

Bodily Injury & Aggravated Assault
Mere scratches, even if rendered with a deadly weapon are not bodily injury. Comm. V. Mayo, 272 Pa. Super., 115, 414 A.2d 696 (1979)

Criminal Court Process In Lehigh & Northampton County

A brief explanation of the different court hearings in an Aggravated Assault case in Lehigh County & Northampton County

FIling of Charges

An Aggravated Assault case begins with the filing of the charging paperwork in the District Court. The District Court serves as the gatekeeper for the Court or Common Pleas and generally does not decide guilt or innocence nor does it impose sentences in Misdemeanor and Felony cases.

As all Aggravated Assault charges are felonies, almost all Aggravated Assault case will begin with a preliminary arraignment upon arrest.

Preliminary Arraignment

The Preliminary Arraignment is the first court date a defendant must attend. At the preliminary Arraignment the MDJ will set bail. If an arrest warrant has issued, this will occur prior to the preliminary hearing. If a preliminary hearing was scheduled via summons, the Preliminary Arraignment will occur simultaneous to the Preliminary Hearing.

Preliminary Hearing

Preliminary Hearings are the first opportunity for the Defense to test the evidence the Commonwealth plans to bring against them in a Lehigh County or Northampton County Aggravated Assault case. While the burden the Commonwealth must meet at this level is very low, it is a critical stage of the defense because it allows for the opportunity to lay the strategic groundwork that may make or break a defense in the upper courts. You should never waive a preliminary hearing without an attorney.

Formal Arraignment

Formal Arraignment is the first court appearance in the Court of Common Pleas in an Aggravated Assault case. The purpose of the Formal Arraignment is to inform defendants of certain rights they have and deadlines in their case. If negotiations have led to a favorable plea agreement in your case, a plea may be entered at this court date

Pre-Trial Motions & Hearings

Depending on the individual case, any of the following types of court hearings may occur after preliminary arraignment but before a trial:

• Diversionary Program Hearing – Diversionary Programs allow defendants a path through the criminal justice system that does not risk the chance of conviction. First time offenders may be eligible for the ARD program. Other defendant’s may be eligible for Mental Health Court regardless of whether they have prior convictions.

• Habeas Corpus Hearing – A Habeas Corpus hearing, like a preliminary hearing, may be held to contest the sufficiency of the Commonwealth’s evidence prior to a trial.

• Suppression Hearing – A suppression hearing may be held to have evidence illegally obtained by the police ruled inadmissible at trial.

• Guilty Plea – If the Commonwealth and the defendant agree upon the terms of a guilty plea, a plea may occur at any time throughout the criminal court process

Criminal Trial

In most criminal trials, cases proceed in front of a jury. However, sometimes it may be best to opt for a non-jury trial. Non-jury trials are most often used when the nature of the crime is one that risks a jury finding someone guilty based upon emotion rather than facts.

If the case precedes as a jury trial the judge, the prosecutor and the defense attorney will question potential jurors. Each side, without any justification, can eliminate a certain number of jurors. Another number of potential jurors can be eliminated based on a list of legal justifications. Eventually, through this process, a jury is reached and seated for trial.

After a jury is chosen, the trial begins with opening statements.

Because the government has the burden of proof, the prosecutor is allowed to make his opening statement first. The defense will then have the option of making an opening statement or waiting until after the prosecution rests its case.

Defense lawyers usually opt to deliver opening statements immediately after the prosecution so that jurors can examine the government’s evidence under the defense’s theory of the case.

After the opening statement(s), each side has the opportunity to present its case.

The prosecution must present its case first. During this time the government presents evidence and elicits testimony from its witnesses. The defense is entitled to cross-examine each witness that the government calls. The prosecution must establish each charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

When the prosecution rests, the defense presents evidence to the jury. If the prosecution’s case is weak, the defense may argue to have the case dismissed at this point. If the motion is denied the defense will go forwards with its case.

After the prosecution and criminal defense lawyer have rested their case, each side will have the opportunity to make a closing argument. The defense lawyer delivers the first argument and the prosecution follows him or her.

The defendant may testify as a witness in his or her defense. However, doing so opens the door for the prosecution to attempt to discredit the witness and in many cases allows the prosecution to bring up harmful information from the defendant’s past.

While the prosecution must establish its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the defense has no obligation to present a case. When advantageous the defense may rely solely upon raising a reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case.

After the closing arguments, the judge will read specific instructions to the jury outlining the legal standards necessary to decide if the defendant is to be found guilty or not guilty. The jury then leaves the courtroom to deliberate the case.

If all jurors cannot reach a unanimous decision, the jury is “hung,” and the case may be dismissed or it may be tried in front of a new jury.

Let us help you!

If you need any legal assistance in the Lehigh Valley, please feel free to contact us.  Our Easton Law Office will get back to you within one business day.  Or, just call us now.

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