First, an assault charge is a severe criminal offense that can have lifelong consequences. It is also a confusing offense with many pitfalls and technicalities. An assault charge can make you lose your job and hamper your future job prospects; it can affect your relationships with family members, friends and acquaintances and change how people interact with you in public.
An assault charge can also make you lose your reputation. Assault charges are reported in the newspapers, and people talk about them; they are not a “private” matter. The consequence of a criminal assault charge makes it imperative to seek legal counsel immediately by a criminal lawyer after being charged to investigate your options and the possible defenses available.
What is the Role of a Defense Attorney in Beating the Assault Charges?
1. Determining the Quality of Your Firm
The quality of the criminal lawyer is the first thing to consider in beating assault charges. It would help if you chose a defense lawyer with a solid background who has seen many cases like yours and has defended many assault cases (several successful results). You may be in serious trouble if a lawyer does not have experience.
How can you find a lawyer with that kind of experience? Ask around, interview several lawyers and choose the one with a good word-of-mouth reputation. In addition, also look for understanding as it shows that your lawyer has handled similar cases like yours and knows how to defend such charges; this will help you avoid many pitfalls.
2. The Defense Philosophy
Defense strategy is the second most crucial factor in beating assault charges. When you have been charged with assault, you will face a lot of evidence that can be used to prove your guilt. Any lawyer will ask you about the details of the alleged incident as it may provide vital information that can help him find out potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you. A good defense attorney will use these details to determine what parts of the case are weak so he can plan his defense accordingly.
What is the “best defense strategy” for beating assault charges?
There is no universal answer to this question, but in most cases, you should consider the following options:
Did the police officer have “reasonable and probable grounds” for arresting you? If so, the prosecution will have a strong case against you. But if not, it’s possible that the charge against you can be dropped. Therefore, it is essential to find out the quality of police investigation. Try to find out:
- What was the reason for the arrest?
- Was there enough pieces of evidence?
- Were there any weaknesses in the evidence and in the police investigation? If so, you may have a solid “reasonable and probable grounds” argument. In addition, if you can provide a convincing reasonable explanation of why physical altercations happened, there is also a possibility that your charges may be dropped.
In any assault case, you should know the following:
- Where did it took place? In public, in private?
- Who was there? Witnesses and police officers, among others. Were they independent witnesses or first-hand witnesses?
You must find out as much information as possible before making any statements, especially to the police officer. If you make a statement without knowing the full details, it can be used against you. Good criminal lawyer will use this information to find ways to have your charges dropped entirely. That can happen in two ways:
- a) The prosecution may not be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you have committed an assault. Or
- b) There were reasonable and probable grounds, but the police investigation was not good enough. If so, the assault charges against you may be dropped. That can also lead to a civil lawsuit against the police officers who conducted an unprofessional investigation and/or arrested you without having reasonable and probable grounds.
What happens if the police officer is not there?
Good defense attorney will use this information to find out what has happened before, during and after the alleged incident to check if the police investigation was conducted correctly and whether there was any evidence that backs up your allegation. That will provide your lawyer with helpful information you can use to argue that there are no reasonable and probable grounds for your arrest. If the police officer was not available when the assault happened, you might have had a better chance of having charges dropped.
The Defense of Self-defense
Self-defense is a cornerstone defense in an assault case. It is one of the best possible ways you can have your charges dropped or having your charges reduced.
One of the reasons for this is that many prosecutors don’t like it. Some prosecutors will decide to drop charges against you if you can prove that you were acting in self-defense.
Having the best criminal defense attorney by your side is essential. But it’s hard to find one these days. That is why you should research and look for a reputable firm with high-quality professionals with the necessary experience to win in these kinds of cases.