In the state of Pennsylvania, the law takes harming another individual seriously. For this reason, there are two kinds of charges you may face if someone believes you have intentionally or recklessly caused bodily injury to them.

According to the state legislature, an individual may commit a simple assault or an aggravated assault, depending on different factors. For example, intent, outcome and circumstances can all vary. To know what exactly sets these charges apart, read on.

Intent differs

With both kinds of assault, one person physically injures another, but the intent differs. With simple assault, there is usually less intent for harm. With aggravated assault, however, a person attempts to hurt someone else “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

Outcome differs

Typically, the outcomes of these charges also differ. With simple assault, someone usually sustains bodily harm, but injuries are less severe. On the other hand, aggravated assault injuries are usually much more serious.

Circumstances differ

Another major difference between simple and aggravated assault has to do with what happened. Often, domestic violence disputes and bar fights that do not involve weapon-related injuries fall under simple assault. In contrast, the law often considers stabbing someone with a knife or shooting a person with a gun to be acts of aggravated assault.

No matter what, assault charges of any kind are a serious matter. While the penalties for simple assault are usually lighter than those for aggravated assault, both charges can result in hefty fines and time behind bars. Understanding what you are facing can give you a better idea of how to move forward if you are in this challenging situation.