Have you been charged with assault or an assaultive offense? Wondering what to do next? Sometimes these charges can seem unfair. Assault charges are a traumatic experience, particularly if they happen when you feel they’re not warranted.
You’ll need someone who can negotiate on your behalf to possibly have your charges withdrawn or reduced to something less serious, and a Fort Worth assault lawyer who has successfully dealt with countless cases like yours can do that. We’ll provide a thorough consultation, outlining the steps we’ll take in defending your case and what rights you have throughout the process.
First Step: Getting Your Side of the Story
Your lawyer will need to know your side of the story, and we will ask many questions about what led up to the alleged incident and whether or not you believe you acted in self-defense. This will allow us to determine which aspects of the case to focus on and where your story may need bolstering because it doesn’t quite stand up under scrutiny.
Though it may seem otherwise to law enforcement and prosecutors, assault cases are not usually cut-and-dry. They’re often very nuanced, especially when alcohol is involved.
Step Two: Sorting Out the Details of What Really Happened
It’s important to understand that assault charges and your defense are not always as straightforward as you might think, so the first thing your lawyer is going to want to know is exactly what went down when the alleged incident occurred. To find out, your assault lawyer will use certain pieces of evidence, including:
- Videos, usually taken on a phone
- Surveillance footage from any nearby cameras
- Statements from witnesses (i.e. friends, family, neighbors) who may have heard or saw something
- Witness testimony
Even if there were witnesses, it’s likely that they’ll have different accounts of what happened. This means that you need to be extremely clear about all the facts of what went on and be willing to recount them in detail repeatedly, as frustrating as this may be.
Your assault lawyer in Fort Worth may also be able to use physical evidence of any injuries to show that you acted in self-defense. If you have cuts on your body, for example, this could be a sign that you were injured during an altercation and had to fight back. If you have bruises or scratches on your arms or hands, it could show that you were trying to push someone away.
Step Three: Fighting the Assault Charge
These types of cases are often tough to negotiate primarily because prosecutors often times believe the injured party (whom the State represents), but your Fort Worth assault lawyer can use different methods when dealing with prosecutors to fight your charge, such as:
- Presenting evidence or statements from witnesses or the injured party contradicting or correcting the police report
- Disputing any injury occurred or providing alternatives to injuries (past injuries, self-injuries)
- Throwing out unreliable or illegally obtained witness testimony
- Plea bargaining, if and when the situation calls for it
Plea bargains are very common, particularly if you have been charged with a serious crime like assault, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony. In general, a plea bargain is when you plead guilty to a lesser charge and agree to a lighter sentence than what you would have received if convicted at trial. Often times in assault charges, because the challenges presented to both parties, a plea bargain can be negotiated for a dismissal. For example, on many occasions, we have negotiated deals for clients where if they complete a class and/or community service, the State will agree to dismiss the case. The goal is always a dismiss or a no bill (on felonies.)
Types of Assaultive or Violent Crimes We Defend
Assault and violent crimes are offenses that cause bodily injury or leave victims coping with the severity of what they’ve been through. But what types of crimes does that include? The list below is a sample of the violent crime charges you may be facing:
- Assault Bodily Injury
- Assault against a Family Member (Domestic violence)
- Assault against a Family Member – Impeding Breath (Choking)
- Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon or Causing Bodily Harm
- Gun Charges (Often Related to Assault Charges)
- Sexual assault or Sex Crimes
- Injury to a Child
- Burglary of a Habitation
- Aggravated Robbery or Robbery
- Violent Crimes
- 3G Offenses (These often overlap with many of the charges above)
If you’re facing any of these charges or others that fall under the definition of a assault or a violent crime, it’s critical to get a lawyer as soon as possible. Calling a lawyer before you go to court may help you avoid more serious penalties.
Self-Defense on Assaults and Violent Crimes | Affirmative Defense
Were you justified in your actions? Texas law allows people to defend themselves, even up to using deadly force if they feel that their life, the life of others, or their property is in danger. This is one of the most important aspects to analyze in an assaultive offense because even if you committed the conduct, if the conduct was justified, the no charges should be brought or the case should be dismissed or no billed by a Grand Jury. To legally use deadly force, you must reasonably believe that you’re in grave danger, and you can’t use more force than is necessary. You can’t use deadly force if there’s no such threat.
First Attacker | Self-Defense Continued
As mentioned above, Texas law allows individuals to defend themselves. Even in situations where a full self-defense may fail because the person used more force than necessary, it’s still important to look at who was the first attacker. If you were not the first attacker (i.e. the person who started the fight), than that is an important factor in determining whether the case should even be prosecuted.
Negotiating Your Case | Fort Worth Assault Lawyer
If you are innocent or wrongly accused, an attorney can fight for your freedom in court. Your lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf to can fight for a dismissal or a reduction.
An experienced lawyer can help you minimize your charges by:
- Negotiating with the prosecutor & fighting your case in court.
- Reviewing your case to see if you qualify for one of the Diversion Programs, like Veterans Court, or one of the Tarrant County Assault Family Violence diversion programs.
- Applying for an expungement or sealing if your case if the dropped.
Of course, the penalties for assaultive violent crimes are severe and can include mandatory minimum sentences, which means that judges can’t go below the specified sentence regardless of the circumstances. While your lawyer may be unable to avoid all charges for your case, they can minimize the damage to your future and possibly have the charges dropped.
Get a Consultation for Your Assault Case Today
You have rights. Helping you fight back is what a good assault lawyer does. We’ll walk you through the entire process step by step. From your first minutes in custody to your final day in court, we’ll be with you every step of the way, working to protect your rights and defend you from charges.
Don’t make a move without an experienced attorney by your side. Please call Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC to speak with a Fort Worth assault lawyer now. Don’t wait another minute in this stressful situation. Reach us by phone at 817-334-7900, or fill out our online form below to get a call back.