A pair of metal handcuffs on a black background. The handcuffs are connected by a short chain, with

Pennsylvania law defines assault as an intentional, unlawful threat by word or action to do violence to another person, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some action that creates a well-founded fear in such person that such violence is imminent. Read on to understand the difference between simple assault and aggravated assault, their varying penalties, and how an experienced York County, PA violent crime attorney can help you fight against your conviction.

What is considered a simple assault in Pennsylvania?

Simple assault is the less severe of the two crimes, although it is still considered a serious offense. The following are some examples of actions that may lead to this conviction:

  • Inflicting or threatening to inflict minor injuries, such as cuts and bruises, to the other person.
  • Pushing the other person away from you in an argument.
  • Verbally threatening the other person with violence.
  • Raising a fist and moving it in a threatening manner toward the other person.

Typically, this case is charged as a second-degree misdemeanor, which may mean a fine of up to $5,000 and anywhere between 1 to 2 years in prison.

What is considered an aggravated assault in Pennsylvania?

A case usually gets escalated to an aggravated assault when there is the presence or use of a deathly weapon. Specific examples read as follows:

  • Inflicting or threatening to inflict serious injuries, such as broken bones, to the other person, with or without the addition of weapons into the interaction.
  • Waving a pocket knife around while threatening to stab the other person.
  • Using a glass bottle to strike the other person on the head
  • Shooting or threatening to shoot the other person, particularly while the gun is pointed at them.
  • Assault with the intent to commit another felony crime, such as robbery or rape.

If the aggravated assault is charged as a second-degree felony, it can lead to a fine of up to $25,000 or anywhere between 5 to 10 years in prison. If considered a first-degree felony, it can result in a fine of up to $25,000 and anywhere between 10 to 20 years in prison.

Whether you are facing a charge of simple or aggravated assault, contact a skilled York County, PA criminal defense attorney today to lessen or eliminate your charges altogether.


We understand that going through the legal system alone can be both confusing and highly stressful. That is why it is our job to help you through every step of the process ahead. For years, we have been helping clients throughout Lancaster County and its surrounding areas through a wide range of legal matters, including personal injury cases, criminal defense matters, family law issues, estate planning law matters, and more. If you need legal assistance, we are here to help. Contact Ilkhanoff & Silverstein today.