People make mistakes. However, there are only a handful of mistakes as regrettable and grave as assault. Whether it was a drunken mistake or you were accused of attacking someone, facing assault charges can be quite a life-changing experience.
How you handle the moments following an assault charge can make all the difference. If you ever get charged with assault, here are essential things you should do.
1. Get an Experienced Lawyer
Facing any assault charge, such as assault with a deadly weapon, is a scary experience. You'll need someone to help guide you through this problem. As such, the first step you must take is to consult a lawyer.
The importance of hiring an attorney right away can't be emphasized enough. The most reliable lawyer will help uphold your rights and develop a strategy to fight the assault charges you face. They can help prove your innocence. In case you are guilty, the best lawyer can guide you through the process and negotiate on your behalf for fair sentencing so that you can get back to your everyday life quickly.
Given that there are different assault charges, you want a lawyer who has handled a similar case as yours. For instance, if your partner accuses you of assault, you'll want to find a domestic violence attorney. This ensures that your lawyer knows the ins and outs of your unique assault charges to help you build a strong case.
2. Do Not Speak to the Police
If you're under suspicion of assaulting someone, the most important thing to remember is to never answer any question. The moment someone accuses you of assault, you'll be charged right away. A police officer will disclose your Miranda rights, as seen in every police movie. And they don't recite those words for no reason. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court.
You need to accept that you can't talk your way out if you've been accused of assault, especially if there's evidence. That said, you're not required to answer any implicating questions from the police officer. Instead, you can be polite and inform the police officer that you'd rather speak with your lawyer before answering any questions. Don't make excuses or fight back; try your best to cooperate with the police.
3. Control Your Anger
Most people can't help but feel frustrated and angry when someone accuses them of something they didn't do. Even if you're guilty of assaulting someone—whether it's accidental or not—knowing that they've charged you can be aggravating.
However, letting anger take over you only drains your energy and can make you do stupid things that can hurt your case. So, you should stay calm. You should learn to control your anger even if other people criticize you. Anything you do or say during angry outbursts can be used against you.
In addition, make sure never to confront the accuser. Although some people think that talking to the accuser may solve the issue, it doesn't end well when you're charged with assault. The accuser may get a restraining order or violence protection order to keep you away. Plus, if the accuser shares the incident in court, it will give the impression that you intended to scare them off.
4. Prepare for Your Court Appearance
When you're charged, you'll be given a date on when you're expected to appear in court. With the help of your lawyer, you'll need to get ready for this date. Depending on how you plan to plead, you'll need to prepare differently.
If you're pleading guilty, you only need to look your best and bring the paperwork requested from you. Otherwise, you and your lawyer will need to do a lot more.
You'll need to gather evidence that can prove your innocence. First off, you need to list potential witnesses—anyone who can give you an alibi or those who were at the scene and are willing to testify in your favor. These witnesses should provide valuable information about the incidents and accusations.
In addition to witnesses, you should gather physical evidence such as CCTV footage, photographs, clothing, GPS data, or any other item that can help your case. Collect any documents or physical evidence that can prove where you were or what you were doing when the assault occurred.
As your lawyer builds a case for you, stay out of trouble. Any incident before your court date can give a bad impression and won't help your case.
Assault charges should never be taken lightly. You must carefully plan your steps if you're currently accused of assaulting someone. While getting charged with assault can be frustrating, knowing the right course of action can help minimize the damage it can do to your life.