Simple Assault Laws in Pennsylvania

The Top 10 Things NOT To Do If You're Arrested

What is Simple Assault?

You can read the law on Simple Assault in PA here: Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses § 2701. It states that a person is guilty of simple 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.

A simple assault charge usually involves minor or no permanent injuries. But the harm has to be more than a simple push or shove or even a slap. Simple assault is the appropriate charge for pointing a gun at someone. Aggravated Assault is not.

Free Guide to Self-Defense in PA

What are the Penalties for Simple Assault?

Simple Assault (general)
Misdemeanor of the 2nd Degree
Maximum Penalty:
2 years in prison
Simple Assault with mutual consent (fighting)
Misdemeanor of the 3rd Degree
Maximum Penalty:
1 year in prison
Simple Assault against a minor (under 12)
Misdemeanor of the 1st Degree
Maximum Penalty:
5 years in prison

How a Simple Assault can Affect Your Life?

Many people wrongly view these charges as minor. This could not be further from reality. Not only are you facing possible jail time if convicted, but you will also have a violent crime on your criminal record. With background check apps and websites, people will be able to see your violent crime and label you as a violent person.

Now ask yourself:

  • What employer wants to hire a violent person?
  • Who wants to date a violent person?
  • Who wants to live near a violent person?

People with “just” a simple assault on their criminal history face lifelong consequences. This includes loss of professional or occupational licenses.

The worst things is, police are quick to charge. This is especially so in the case of domestic violence charges. The police often don’t investigate the facts. They simply take the word of someone and arrest….even if you were defending yourself.

Don’t let an assault conviction rob you of your freedom for years to come. Call The McShane Firm now at 7176573900 for your free case consultation. Our experienced attorneys will help you plan out a course of action to fight these charges.

According to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts in 2017, there were 25,878 offenses committed against a person. These are mostly assault and related offenses.

The Most Dangerous

When measured by the number of assault offenses per 1,000 people, the counties that
had the most offenses were:

Counties with the Highest Rate of Assault Offenses

Different Types of
Assault Charges

Type of Offense PA Statute Description Penalty Range
Simple Assault 18 § 2701 Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another.
  • Up to 2 years imprisonment and $5,000 in fines
  • For fighting by mutual consent, up to 1 year imprisonment and $2,000 in fines
  • If against a minor under 12 by and adult, then up to 5 years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines
Aggravated Assault 18 § 2702 Attempting to cause serious bodily injury to another. There are many other aggravating factors such as assaulting a law enforcement officer, school teacher or employee.
  • If graded as a Felony of the First Degree then up to 20 years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines
  • If graded as a Felony of the Second Degree then up to 10 years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines
Involuntary Manslaughter 18 § 2504 A person is guilty of involuntary manslaughter when as a direct result of the doing of an unlawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, or the doing of a lawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, he causes the death of another person.
  • Up to 5 years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines
  • If the victim is under 12 years of age and is in the care or custody the person who caused the death then up to 10 years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines
Voluntary Manslaughter 18 § 2503 A person who kills an individual without lawful justification commits voluntary manslaughter if at the time of the killing he is acting under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation.
  • Up to 20 years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines
Murder 18 § 2502 A criminal homicide constitutes murder of the first degree when it is committed by an intentional killing.
  • If graded as a Murder of the Third Degree then up to 40 years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines
  • If graded as a Murder of the Second Degree then Mandatory life imprisonment
  • If graded as a Murder of the First Degree then Mandatory Death or Mandatory life imprisonment

An Assault Conviction can Shatter your Life

Beyond the penalties in court, an assault conviction can ruin your life in many ways.

  • 1 An assault conviction will stay on your criminal record forever. Future employers, friends, even someone you ask out to dinner can easily use common apps to see your assault conviction.
  • 2 Depending on the nature and severity of the crime, you can lose your professional license. This affects people from many professions such as doctors, lawyers, massage therapists and even barbers.
  • 3 Many companies have policies not to hire someone who has been convicted of a violent crime.
  • 4 If your conviction is a sexual offense, you may have to register as a sex offender which may make it difficult to find a place to live.

Our Clients Love us!

You will too!

“ This is the attorney you want for your criminal case. Professional, knowledgeable and calm when faced with the most difficult situations. Was so very pleased with the knowledge he gave the family to keep us calm and informed. Wonderful attorney. ”

“ You have always been honest, that is so important. Also your hard work – you never leave loose ends. You know your job and do it at the highest level. You are all
winners. Thank you for giving your all! ”

“ Plain and simple, it was awesome. You guys kick butt. All the money that was paid was worth every penny. I will never forget you all. Thanks for all your help. ”

“ Justin, I believe, is the best bar none. Not only just in the courtroom but also for just being a great guy. I’ve always been told not to trust an attorney but Justin
I trust along with the whole firm. ”

For more information please call: 1-866-MCSHANE or visit

3601 Vartan Way, 2nd Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17110

Additional recommended reading: