The Difference Between Aggravated Assault and Attempted Murder
Aggravated assault is considered to be a felony in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code and it is defined as an attempt to cause serious bodily injury to another, or to cause serious bodily injury purposely, knowingly, or recklessly with an extreme indifference to the value of human life. For an assault to be considered “aggravated” it requires the use of a weapon or result of serious bodily injury. One can also face aggravated assault charges for any type of assault or harassment to public officials and certain employees, such as police officers.
- Examples of aggravated assault include; an individual engaging in a bar fight that result in serious bodily injury to another, threatening someone with a gun pointed in their direction, or striking another individual with a weapon used to harm someone.
Serious bodily injury: Injuries which could lead to increased risk of death, a loss or impairment of function of a bodily organ, or permanent disfigurement.
Attempted murder is also considered a felony in Pennsylvania and carries a slightly harsher punishment than aggravated assault. Attempted murder is defined as the failed or aborted attempt to murder another person, and usually requires the act of causing serious bodily injury. The statute for attempted murder is the same as murder; it must be a purposeful, knowing, or reckless attempt to murder another individual.
- Examples of attempted murder include; In the midst of a heated argument, someone throws a knife and the other individual’s chest, that is attempted murder. Shooting at someone is considered attempted murder as well.
- Aggravated Assault can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $25,000.
- Attempted Murder can carry a sentence of up to 40 years with the presence of serious bodily harm, and up to 20 years for a case involving no signs of serious bodily harm.
The decision to charge someone with either aggravated assault or attempted murder falls onto the District Attorney and the main difference usually comes to the presence of seriously bodily harm. In order to charge an individual with aggravated assault, the prosecution must only prove that there was attempt to cause serious bodily harm, meaning the presence of injury is not necessary for a conviction in court. In order to convict someone of attempted murder, the prosecution must prove the intent to murder and a direct action in the killing of another, meaning the perpetrator must take a significant step toward the act of killing another, with the intention to kill that person.
The Law Office of Vincent J. Caputo is dedicated to provide you or a loved one effective legal representation. We will help you understand the charges you are facing and your best options. Contact our office for a free consultation.