You didn’t intend to get involved in a fight when you went out for a night with your friends, but one thing led to another and you ended up getting pulled into a violent altercation and the police got involved. Now, you’re facing assault charges and you’re not sure what to do. Making the wrong choices could be detrimental to your case.
Here’s a list of common mistakes made when facing assault charges.
Talking to Police. Police are trained to manipulate you to get what they want, this includes evidence against you. For example, let’s say that you’ve been involved in a violent bar fight and the police are called. They might take you aside, hand you an ice pack for your swollen knuckles, tell you the other guy is clearly at fault and ask you for your side of the story. Naturally, you’ll want to explain yourself and tell your side, so you do. At that point, the police arrest you and charge you with assault. Unfair but legal, and also avoidable. The truth is, you don’t have to talk to the police. You’ve heard of your right to remain silent. That’s not just for after you’re arrested. You don’t have to speak to the police ever. Exercise your right to remain silent and stay silent until you talk with an attorney.
Talking with Others About the Assault. Being involved in an assault can be traumatic. It’s natural to want to talk about what happened with other people, to explain your side of the story or ask for advice. Just like talking to the police can hurt you, anything you say to other people can be used against you in court. This even includes those closest to you, like siblings and parents. It’s best to not discuss the incident with anyone except your lawyer.
Posting About the Incident on Social Media. Any time you’re involved in an incident that might result in you appearing in court, do not post about it on any social media forum, including Facebook, Twitter, or SnapChat. Prosecutors absolutely love to blow up huge images and Tweets for the benefit of the jury and use your words against you. So post anything, not even a fist emoji. It can be taken out of context and turned around to hurt you.
Contacting The Victim of the Assault. You may want to apologize, or clear the air, especially if the victim was a friend. Regardless of the reason, don’t do it. This is because anything you say to the victim may be used against you in court. Even if you had the best intentions.
Destroying Evidence. Maybe you’re reading this after you’ve already posted a video of the incident. Don’t delete the post and don’t delete the video from your electronic devices. This considered destroying evidence and can actually land you in more trouble.
Just like there are there are lots of things you can do that will hurt your case, there are also things you can do to improve your situation. With the help of an expert criminal defense attorney, you can give yourself the best chances of putting this behind you. Call Terry Sherman today to schedule a free legal consultation!
You can’t ignore the headlines. Violent crime has a tendency to go up right along with the temperatures. But does hot weather actually cause increases in crime?
Almost all the established academic literature that examines not just months, but the temperatures within those months has determined that there is a high correlation between increased temperature and elevated crime levels. Now, a team of researchers has developed a model that could help explain why. The researchers call the new model CLASH (Climate Aggression, and Self-control in Humans).
“Climate shapes how people live, it affects the culture in ways that we don’t think about in our daily lives,” said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University.
One theory, the “aggression” theory holds that people are more easily agitated in the heat because adrenaline and testosterone levels rise in the warmer temperatures.
Some researchers believe that hot climates and less variation in seasonal temperatures lead to a faster “life strategy”, less focus on the future, and less self-control – all of which contribute to more aggression and violence.
If higher temperatures were causing greater crime rates, then we should see crime incidences peak when temperatures are at their highest.
A crime analysis study by Ellen Cohn and James Rotton of Florida State University showed that there is a correlation between crime and heat, but as temperatures rose above 75 – 80℉, crime dropped.
This was proven again in a publication by boston.com of Columbus, Ohio weather in 2007, which found crime rates rose with high temperatures for a given date but fell off once the thermometer registered 85F or above.
This would seem to reinforce a second “community” theory which says that more crime is committed when more people gather in public. The nicer the weather, the more people are outside. Extremely high temperatures could drive people back into the air conditioning.
During the summer months, people spend more time outside, they stay outside, they drink, they have fun and socialize which in turn creates more of an opportunity for interactions of all sorts, including criminal behavior.
One interesting study of Major League Baseball batsmen who had been hit by pitches also offers support for the anger theory. It turns out that more batters are “beaned” by the pitcher when the temperature goes above 90F (above the Cohn/Rotton breaking point).
So we have a lot of suggestive evidence, but much of it somewhat contradictory. We don’t have enough consistent information to be certain that either the aggression hypothesis or the community theory is correct.
Both theories agree, though, that crime waves do generally track heat waves. That could be quite troublesome for the simple reason that if climate change is causing higher average temperatures for most of us, then we should expect the crime rate to rise in coming decades also.
Self-defense is defined as the legal use of force when a person believes it is absolutely necessary to prevent injury or death to his person. Circumstances vary from case to case, but there are general guidelines to follow if you wish to plead self-defense to an assault charge.
Choose a criminal defense attorney who specializes in assault cases. Well-trained lawyers are your best friends when criminal charges are pressed. A good attorney will often know how best to build a case for self-defense and can advise you on what to do.
Explain why assault was the only option. A self-defense argument usually succeeds only if your actions came as a last resort. Be prepared to explain why other means of resolving the situation (such as retreating from the situation or calling the police) were not feasible in your case, and that you risked injury or death if you hadn’t acted immediately.
Point out that a felony was being committed, or that your assailant struck first. You are legally allowed to defend yourself if the other party is committing, or is about to commit, a crime. You may also legally defend yourself if you were attacked before attacking someone yourself. If you can demonstrate either of these two conditions, you may be able to plead self-defense successfully.
Show that the force you used was proportionate to the force with which you were threatened. The law weighs proportion very carefully in these cases. Be prepared to show that you did not escalate the situation and that you fought back using the same means and force with which you were attacked.
Demonstrate that you stopped when your assailant no longer posed a threat. Your ability to plead self-defense successfully may hinge on how much damage you inflicted after your assailant was clearly incapacitated. You should note when you stopped attacking, and be ready to explain why your assailant was still a danger up until that moment.