Assault on Sports Officials in Pennsylvania: Understanding the Charge and How It Differs from Simple Assault


Involvement in sports often brings out intense emotions and can sometimes lead to altercations between players, coaches, fans, and officials. Pennsylvania has a specific criminal charge, known as Assault on Sports Officials, to address such situations and protect those responsible for overseeing athletic events. In this blog post, we will discuss the details of this charge, how it differs from simple assault, its scope of protection, and when it is applicable. If you or someone you know has been charged with Assault on Sports Officials, it is essential to understand the nuances of this offense and seek experienced legal representation from The McShane Firm.

Assault on Sports Officials: The Charge

In Pennsylvania, Assault on Sports Officials is outlined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 2712. This statute makes it a crime to intentionally cause or attempt to cause physical harm to a sports official in retaliation for, or with the intent to influence, their performance of official duties during or in connection with an athletic event.

How It Differs from Simple Assault

Simple assault, as defined by 18 Pa.C.S. § 2701, is a broader offense that involves attempting or intentionally causing bodily injury to another person, negligently causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon, or putting another person in fear of imminent bodily injury. While simple assault covers various situations, Assault on Sports Officials specifically targets those who cause or attempt to cause harm to sports officials in the context of an athletic event.

Scope of Protection: Who Does It Include?

The term “sports official” under § 2712 includes not only referees and judges but also other individuals responsible for controlling, regulating, or supervising an athletic event, such as umpires, linesmen, and timekeepers. Additionally, it extends to coaches, assistant coaches, and other volunteers involved in supervising or managing the event.

Does It Matter Who Commits the Assault?

The statute does not specifically differentiate between the various individuals who might commit the assault, such as a player, coach, parent, or fan. The key element of the offense is the intent to cause harm or influence the sports official’s performance of their duties in the context of an athletic event.

When Is the Charge Applicable?

The Assault on Sports Officials charge is applicable when the assault occurs during or in connection with an athletic event. This means that it covers not only situations occurring during the actual game or competition but also incidents that may take place before or after the event, as long as they are connected to the official’s performance of their duties.

Why Choose The McShane Firm?

If you have been charged with Assault on Sports Officials in Pennsylvania, it is essential to have an experienced and skilled legal team on your side. The McShane Firm is dedicated to providing comprehensive and aggressive representation for clients facing such charges. Here’s why you should choose us:

  1. Expertise: Our attorneys have extensive experience handling various criminal cases, including assault charges. We stay up-to-date with the latest developments in criminal law to ensure the best possible defense for our clients.
  2. Personalized attention: We understand that each case is unique and take the time to listen to your story, understand your situation, and develop a tailored defense strategy that fits your needs.
  3. Proven results: Our successful track record in defending clients against assault charges speaks for itself. We have helped numerous clients obtain favorable outcomes, whether through dismissal, acquittal, or reduced charges.


Facing an Assault on Sports Officials charge in Pennsylvania can be a challenging and stressful experience. The McShane Firm is here to help you understand your rights, navigate the legal process, and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today to schedule a Free initial consultation with an attorney who will shoot you straight and have answers for you.

PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.