Things to Know if Charged With Pittsburgh Assault
Pittsburgh assault charges can result in serious punishment. If you have been charged with committing assault in Pittsburgh, you will want to learn about your legal options.
This article will explain things you should know if charged with a Pittsburgh assault. Understand that Pittsburgh assault law can be quite complex . If you have questions specific to your case, contact a Pittsburgh assault attorney. Whether you were charged with assault in Oakwood, Crafton Heights, Brookline or another area of Allegheny County, a Pittsburgh assault lawyer can assess your case and provide you with legal guidance.
You Have a Right to a Pittsburgh Assault Attorney
When you are arrested, you retain several rights. One of these is the to remain silent. This means that you do not have to answer questions from law enforcement or investigators. This right is meant to protect you from incriminating yourself.
Additionally, you have the right to an attorney. You may have the opportunity to contact your lawyer when you reach the police station for booking. Otherwise, you will be able to seek out a Pittsburgh assault attorney prior to your trial. If you are incarcerated, you should find someone you trust to investigate attorneys on your behalf.
If you cannot afford an attorney, you have the right for the court to appoint you one. This is called a pubic defender.
There Are Multiple Types of Pittsburgh Assault
If you are arrested for committing assault, you could be charged with one of several different types of assault charges.
If you and another person were engaged in a consensual fight that was broken up by police, you will be charged with a class 3 misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is considered a less serious crime than a felony. In Pittsburgh, misdemeanors are ranked by number. The lower the number, the more serious the misdemeanor and the more serious the punishment. The punishment for a class 3 misdemeanor assault charge is up to one year in prison.
Simple assault is when an individual intentionally causes another bodily harm or attempts to do so putting another in fear of injury. This means that you do not have to actually harm someone to be charged with simple assault. In Pittsburgh, simple assault is usually a class 2 misdemeanor, which entails a punishment of up to two years in prison.
If you are an adult and you commit assault against a child under the age of 12, you will be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. This crime entails a punishment of up to five years in prison.
If you commit assault with a deadly weapon, such as a knife, a bat or a car, you will be charged with aggravated assault. Pittsburgh aggravated assault charges are often considered a class 2 felony. This crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Additionally, if you commit assault and cause serious injury, you may also be charged with a class 2 felony.
If you commit assault and cause bodily injury that shows an extreme indifference to human life, you will be charged with a class 1 felony. For a crime to show an extreme indifference to human life, the victim must be seriously injured or disabled as a result of the attack. In addition, an assault can be a class 1 felony if serious injury is caused to a police officer, firefighter or other law enforcement or government official. A class 1 felony assault charge in Pittsburgh could entail a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.
Your Pittsburgh Assault Attorney Can Attempt to Plea Bargain
Prior to your trial, your Pittsburgh assault attorney can enter into negotiations with the prosecution, the party tasked with proving the assault charges.
These negotiations, called plea bargains, are meant to reduce your potential sentence. An attorney may attempt to plea bargain if he knows the evidence supports a guilty verdict against you.
If the plea bargain is successful, you and the prosecution will enter into a plea agreement. This means that you will enter a guilty plea for a lesser crime in order to receive a lighter sentence. For example, if you were charged with a class 2 misdemeanor simple assault, the prosecution may agree to lessen the charge to a class 3 misdemeanor.
If you wish to know more about plea bargaining and how it may apply to your case, you should contact a Pittsburgh assault attorney.
You Can Use a Criminal Defense
Besides striking a plea bargain, you and your attorney can assert a criminal defense to try to convince the jury you should not be found guilty of committing assault.
One common defense to assault is self defense. Self defense means you used a reasonable amount of force against an individual to prevent yourself or someone else from imminent injury. The onus is on you and your attorney to prove you acted to protect yourself or someone else, and that the amount of force used was reasonable.
You and your attorney can also attempt to dispute the facts in the case. For example, you can assert that the police may have arrested the wrong person and you were just a bystander. Such a defense may require the use of an alibi, or someone who can vouch for your whereabouts at the time of the crime.
If you are interested in finding out more about possible defenses to your assault charge, contact a Pittsburgh assault lawyer.