Finding yourself on the receiving end of felonious charges can be exceptionally daunting. It is important as an alleged assailant to contact and build a defense as soon as possible. It might be even more crucial for you to begin speaking with an experienced defense attorney if you find yourself being charged with assaulting an officer.
An experienced attorney could begin by building a Fredericksburg assault on an officer defense and better your chances of success in the courtroom.
If an alleged offender is charged with an assault on a police officer felony, it may be possible to argue a defense based on circumstantial evidence. Most commonly, defense or mitigation in an assault of an officer case involves arguing that the alleged assailant was acting in a manner to protect his or herself after an arresting officer initiated touching in some unwanted manner.
For felony cases involving alleged assailants in a correctional facility, it is not uncommon for a defense team to argue that the officer (the alleged victim) was forceful and that the alleged assailant was simply defending himself.
In some cases, there are mitigating factors of mental health. If someone who is very troubled or has a serious mental health issue is charged with assault of an officer, it might warrant a defense where an attorney may argue that the alleged perpetrator was unable to cooperate because of his or her illness. While the supposed behavior of a mentally ill attacker may not be justifiable, if information of this person’s mental health is properly presented to a jury, there may be a way to mitigate the case.
These cases are not processed differently than other assault cases. Cases involving assault on a law enforcement officer will go through the same procedural steps as cases involving any other complainant.
A felony case in Virginia may most likely begin in the general district court where a preliminary hearing is held before the case is sent to circuit court. .
Because it is a law enforcement officer who files a complaint, the way that assault on an officer case is prosecuted and defended in Fredericksburg court changes. Clients and attorneys might want to prepare for such a case and think about the case going forward.
One major impact on a case may come from who the prosecutor assigned to the case is and how he or she views the case at hand. In some criminal cases where the prosecutor is assigned, that prosecutor’s perception of the facts is extremely important to the way the defense attorney and the client handle the case and the options that are ultimately available to them.
In a case where the complainant is a law enforcement officer, there is an extremely strong probability that the prosecutor who is assigned to the case has a profession and, often, personal relationship with the officer. While there is a chance that the prosecutor may not know the officer who filed the complaint, the prosecuting state attorney may still be skeptical of an alleged assailant’s defense because of the professional relationship that law enforcement has with the prosecutor.
When a law enforcement officer tells a prosecutor that they were assaulted, the prosecutor is not inclined to question the reasonableness of that testimony. The prosecutor is also very likely to look at the case as if his or her friend and colleague had been attacked. It is in the best professional interest of a prosecutor to defend his colleague and punish alleged perpetrators.
One of the biggest difficulties when facing an assault against a law enforcement officer is the social stigma that is involved in the case. Not only is an assault against a police officer or a law enforcement officer a violent offense but an individual charged with that offense has been accused of being in a situation where he or she allegedly had unwanted contact with the police and, rather than complying with that law enforcement officer, supposedly engaged in violent behavior.
There are more difficulties that arise for someone who has that charge on their record than someone who is merely facing an assault of another individual. Even if assault of a law enforcement officer were not an enhanced penalty felony in Virginia, having such a charge on an individual’s record would make it more difficult for that person to receive consideration from people in the future.
Another real difficulty with assault cases involving law enforcement officers is that an assault case generally involves two different stories: the accused’s story and the story of the complainant, and there are often differences in those stories. While most people in society understand that law enforcement officers are just as capable of telling a lie or being mistaken about the facts as any other member of society and that law enforcement officers are in a very high-stress job, there is also a very strong feeling by most members of society that police officers would not lie about what they do. It is very difficult for members of the public to believe that someone who is accused by a police officer of an assault against that police officer could be innocent of the crime he or she is charged with.
Facing the stigma of a felony along with the legal ramifications is a harrowing task. Building a Fredericksburg assault on a police officer defense is not something that should be taken lightly, and with the help of an experienced Fredericksburg attorney, you may be able to mitigate your courtroom case.
Give our experienced lawyers a call and see what our attorneys may be able to do for you.
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