Is it possible to be convicted of simple and aggravated assault if you witnessed it and were not physically involved?

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Is it possible to be convicted of simple and aggravated assault if you witnessed it and were not physically involved?

I drove a friend of mine to a persons home whom i did not know. My friend claimed that this person owed him money and he needed a ride to retrieve it. I agreed to take him. when my friend arrived to pick up the money a fight broke out on the lawn several ft. away from my vehicle…. i remained in my vehicle. I yelled for my friend to get back into my car and he did AND I LEFT! shortly after we were pulled over by police and i was arrested, but not sent to prison.. my friend was ALSO ARRESSTED & sent to prison

Asked on July 3, 2009 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Being charged with a criminal assault is a serious thing and you should seek legal counsel immediately for help.  I am not admitted in PA but understand the charges to be as follows:

"Under Pennsylvania assault laws, a person is guilty of assault if a person intentionally or knowingly causes bodily harm to another, or attempts to do so putting another in fear of injury. "

This can be very broadly interpreted by the law.  Coming close to hitting someone with a car can do it.

"Simple Assault is usually a Misdemeanor 2 charge, unless it is an assault by an adult on a child under 12, in which case it is a more serious Misdemeanor 1. If it is a fight where both parties enter by mutual consent, it is a Misdemeanor 3 charge.

Aggravated Assault may be a Felony 1 or Felony 2, with penalties of up to 20 or 10 years in prison, respectively.

An aggravated assault is a Felony 1 if serious bodily injury is caused with "extreme indifference to human life", or if serious bodily injury is caused to a police officer, firefighter, or other law enforcement or government official."

Whether or not the fact as you state them will hold up to the charges against you can only be determined by an experienced attorney in your area.  I urge you to get help.


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