Assault crimes are the second broad category of violent crimes. While the term “assault” certainly conveys the idea of a physical injury, Pennsylvania’s various assault crimes don’t necessarily require that a physical injury occur, or what the law defines as “bodily injury” and “serious bodily injury.” Assault crimes include and punish conduct that may merely threaten bodily injury and serious bodily injury, or conduct that attempts to cause either. Understanding how the law defines these terms, therefore, is important to understand assault in Pennsylvania.

Bodily injury is defined as an “impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.” And serious bodily injury is defined as “bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”

Chapter 27 of the Crimes Code encompasses all of the assault crimes in Pennsylvania, but the most commonly charged are these:

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