I’m being charged with assault??!! Wait, I’m the VICTIM!! By Bo Kalabus

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By Bo Kalabus
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It happens. It happens more than you think. Think of it this way–we see it all the time in sporting events. Take football for example; when two players are pushing and shoving you see a yellow penalty flag fly in short order, which one gets the flag? Well, by the time we see the replay it’s usually the guy who has been hit, tripped, kicked, or spit on and he’s retaliating by shoving or hitting back. Why? Well, it also turns out that by the time the referee saw the action, the only thing he saw was our poor gentleman retaliating and getting the flag and penalty for the team. Why? Things happen fast in sporting events. The refs need to make the call bang bang.

The same thing can happen in an assault case or an assault family violence case. And here’s why–a fight of any sort is a very difficult situation for any police officer to come into because it is so dangerous. A responding officer has to be concerned about the participants being injured, making sure the fight is contained before any innocent bystanders are injured, and of course the officer him or herself does not want to be injured. Depending on the situation, there can also be a concern of concealed weapons being brandished or worse, used.

Fights can also happen very fast. This being the case, if you have five witnesses, you could have five different stories of who witnessed what events. Witnesses may also see the fight after it had already escalated and guess at who really started it. The same is true for 911 callers that may hear or see a fight after it had already started and not know who the real aggressor is. Also, different stories can be told from the participants themselves making it very difficult for police to ascertain who is the victim and who is the aggressor.

Arrests have to be made and usually the police don’t have a lot of time to make a call in an assault case–they have to rush to judgment and get the situation under control. As citizens this is exactly what we want the police to do–make arrests quickly and keep us safe. But sometimes the police in haste may get things wrong.

As you can see, an assault charge can be relatively simple, or it can be very fact intensive. An assault charge is also very serious whether it is simple or complex and if it is an assault family violence charge, the impact of a conviction comes with far reaching consequences. And if you happen to think you are a victim, and the prosecutor thinks you are the aggressor, well then you are in for a long ordeal.

If you happen to find yourself in such a situation, I highly recommend consulting with an attorney on how to navigate the justice system and mount a proper defense and if needed get a competent investigator and/or therapist on the case to turn up facts that may not be readily available. First and foremost–if you are the victim and you were injured in the altercation-no matter how minor–make sure you get photographs of your injuries. Sometimes, the photographs themselves can speak volumes and give your counsel just the right amount of leverage to get the case dismissed or reduced.

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