Arrested for Assault: What Happens Next
When you or a loved one face assault charges, it’s scary. There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with serious criminal charges like these. Local law enforcement takes assault crimes very seriously. A state can impose sizeable financial penalties as well as mandatory jail time. Plus, a conviction for assault goes onto your criminal record and can affect your life for years to come. If charged with assault, it’s important that you begin to take steps immediately to help your case even before you speak to an attorney who works on assault cases.
Tips on What to Do After You've Been Charged with Assault
By acting quickly, you may be able to mitigate some of the damage that the charges can cause to your life. You may also be able to help create a solid criminal defense that can aid in getting the charges reduced or even dismissed entirely.
If you find yourself facing assault charges, there are some things you can do to help your case.
Hire an Assault Lawyer Immediately
Any time you are facing criminal charges, whether it’s assault or another crime, you need to retain professional legal counsel. It can be tempting to try to work with the system on your own to avoid attorney’s fees. In the long run, though, you’ll likely end up spending more money. The court system is difficult to navigate on your own, and you might end up making innocent mistakes that cost you more money. You may also receive harsher punishment if you don’t have an attorney to argue your case.
An experienced assault lawyer will understand how to closely examine the details of your case to identify the best possible defense. This can help you avoid unnecessary jail time and reduce the charges that go onto your criminal record. You don’t have to wait until the charges occur, either. You can ask for a lawyer as soon as the police start speaking to you about the incident. In fact, the sooner you speak to a lawyer about your case, the better.
Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent
If the police arrive at the scene of the assault, it’s your instinct to want to explain your side of the story. You will feel compelled to get them on your side by telling them what led to the alleged assault. It’s best not to do this. In an ideal situation, you should remain calm and treat the police with respect but do not answer their questions. Even simple questions about how much you’ve had to drink or what started the issue could be used against you later in court.
Let the police know that you want to exercise your right to remain silent and wish to speak to your attorney. At that point, you should give them no more information until your attorney is present. If you don’t have one, call one immediately, and explain the situation. If you’ve already spoken to the police at the scene, don’t panic.
Be honest with your attorney about what’s occurred so they can take those conversations into account. It’s important that going forward you do not answer any more police questions. You should not attend any interviews without an attorney present, either.
Stay Off Social Media
It’s tempting to take to social media to tell your side of the story. Avoid this. What you post on social media is often admissible in court and could hurt your case. That includes Facebook posts, tweets, Snap Chat stories, and more. Don’t comment on what other people post, either, including likes or faves. It can indicate motive or intent in the case. It’s best to avoid social media as much as possible until achieving a resolution to avoid any issues. You may even consider closing your accounts temporarily until the courts resolve the matter.
If for some reason you need to remain on social media (for work or school, for instance), talk to an attorney about the best way to handle it. They can help you develop a social media strategy.
Avoid Discussing the Incident with Others
You don’t want to discuss the case with others in real life, either. What you tell people about the incident could come back to haunt you in court. Those people can be witnesses in the case and would have to testify against you. It’s tough not to talk to your loved ones about a very scary and serious event in your life. But you are protecting both them and yourself by staying quiet.
If you need to talk about it, discuss it with your attorney. They can recommend confidential resources that can help you manage the feelings that come with assault charges, as well.
Avoid Any Further Conflicts
While you are waiting for your court dates, it’s important that you avoid any further conflicts with the law. Avoiding more legal trouble can help your case. More charges or further incidents can land you in hot water very quickly. Attempt to keep a low profile and continue to go to regular activities like school and work.
Above all, avoid any further interaction with the other parties involved in your assault charges. Take their numbers out of your phone, block them on social media, and do your best to avoid running into them in public. Your attorney may be able to help you develop additional plans to avoid the other parties and keep yourself out of more trouble.
You Can Minimize the Damage of Assault Charges
Following these tips can help you minimize the potential damage assault charges can do to your life. It’s important to stay calm, focused, and have a team of people around you who can help guide you through this difficult situation. This isn’t a situation you should face alone. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is a vital step to take to help achieve a positive outcome for your case.