You decided to go to the sports bar. Usually, you do not drink, but you ordered a beer to avoid appearing awkward. You sat at the bar and watched the game from the television posted in the left-hand corner. Your favorite player scored a basket, and you reacted by cheering and tossing your hands in the air, forgetting that you were holding a glass full of beer in your right hand. Some of the beer spilled onto the bald, 6’6’’, 340 pound, muscular guy sitting beside you. He becomes irate and claims that you intentionally spilled the beer on him. Later that evening, you see a beautiful young lady sitting at a table in the bar with some of her girlfriends. A few minutes later, you notice that the guy that you spilled beer on approaches the table and begins to harass the beautiful young lady. She tells him that she has a boyfriend and is not interested in the big guy’s advancements. He ignores her and continues to bother the young lady. In fact, he grabs her left arm at one point. She yells, as if she is in pain, and attempts to get away, but he refuses to loosen his grip. As a result, you run to her defense. You tell the brute to remove his hand from the lady’s arm. He refuses to remove his hand and begins to make cruel remarks towards you and the lady. Moreover, he begins to walk towards you while grasping her and cursing. She shrieks in pain. You warn him, ball your fists, and you are prepared to strike him. However, the security guards rush in, grab the big fellow, and escort him out of the bar.
A few weeks later, you receive legal documents stating that you have been charged with assault. The big guy at the bar has sought an attorney and accuses you of assaulting him…you…a mere 5’10”, 180 pound, mild-mannered guy, who many consider a loveable nerd…you…the guy who helps older ladies cross the street…you…the guy who climbs trees to rescue frightened kittens…you…the guy who drives both his mother and grandmother to church every Sunday…you…yes, you…You have been charged with assault, but you ask yourself…how is this possible? I never laid a hand on the guy. Now, I have to miss work and appear in court for assault charges?
What exactly is an assault? Occasionally, people confuse a battery with an assault. However, an assault usually precedes or occurs before a battery. An assault is a crime that creates apprehension (fear) in a person because he/she believes that another person is going to cause him/her imminent harm. Specifically, if you are in the process of attempting to fight or strike someone but law enforcers or spectators stop the fight from occurring, this would be considered an assault because even though there may have been fear of a physical attack that could lead to injury or harm, actual contact was not made. On the contrary, physical contact does occur during battery. Moreover, an individual would likely be charged with assault and battery if a fight actually transpired.
Again, according to the legal definition of assault, one does not have to physically strike someone to be accused of assault. Any deliberate or intentional act that causes another to fearfully believe that he/she is going to be physically harmed can allude to assault. This includes, but is not limited to, a punch or kick that does not make contact. Moreover, lunging at someone or pointing a fake weapon may fall into the category of assault if done with the intent of causing the other person to feel threatened or harmed.
Why would someone need to contact and hire a criminal defense attorney for assault charges? Well, assault cases can be difficult to comprehend. Moreover, a defense attorney may be able to assist you with dismissing the case. In the example above, suppose that the big guy accuses the other guy of two charges of assault. First, he accuses him of spilling the drink on him. Well, according to the law, a criminal defense attorney could easily dismiss this charge because there is a lack of intent. In other words, the guy accidentally spilled the drink on the other guy. Meaning, the physical act (inadvertently spilling the beer on the guy) was not an intent to create any type of fear in the victim. Furthermore, the second incident involved the defense of others. Specifically, the bigger guy was harassing the young lady and refused to remove his hand from her arm, even though, she yelled in pain and continuously asked him to stop. He would not abide to her requests. As a result, the smaller gentleman intervened, instructed the brute to remove his hands from the lady, but the bully refused. He refused to comply with all reasonable requests; therefore, the gentleman prepared himself to defend the helpless lady by clenching his fists, raring back, and preparing to strike the massive man, but security arrived and escorted the larger man out of the bar, seconds before the young gentleman had the opportunity to strike the man. In this particular case, the gentleman did commit the crime of assault because it was his intention to strike and harm the other; however, the young gentleman was simply trying to defend the young lady, and according to a court of law, individuals have the right to use force to defend others, but the defendant must act in a reasonable manner, believing that the person being attacked would be entitled to self-defense.
Each assault case is different, and as a criminal defense attorney, I would like to offer my services to you. I can explain possible defenses, such as: self defense; defense of others; alibi; or failure to meet the burden. In addition, I can help avoid or minimize: jail; fines; ineligibility for public housing; trouble receiving employment; suspension of driver’s license; loss of professional license; or deportation.