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I'm facing charges for assault, now what?

Violent crimes are not taken lightly in court. If you are suddenly facing charges for committing a violent crime -- such as assault -- in the state of California, you could face numerous penalties that could have a drastic impact on both your personal and professional life.

This week's column will focus on what assault is, and what you can do if you are facing charges of assault or any other type of violent crime.

Assault definition

Assault means to attack. If you are facing assault charges, it means that someone has accused you of attacking him or her, verbally and/or physically, with the intent to cause fear for one's safety or actually bodily harm.

What elements must exist in an assault case for the prosecution to secure

a conviction?

There are two main elements that must exist for a prosecuting attorney to be able to secure a conviction against you if you are fighting charges for assault. The first element is intent. They will have to show that you intended to cause the victim to fear for his or her safety. The second element is carrying out the threat of physical violence. At the end of the day, words, actions and the intent behind them is what really matters in assault cases.

How can I defend myself if charged with assault?

As with any crime, there are several defense strategies available that will possibly benefit your situation. Some of these include:

  • Intoxication
  • Self-defense
  • Unintentional
  • Deny involvement

Your legal counsel will be able to provide further information about these and other defense strategies and will be able to help you make an informed decision regarding how best to fight the charges filed against you.

Rely on experience

There is nothing easy about fighting assault or other violent crime charges in a California court. There are always at least two sides to every story -- the alleged victim's and the accused's -- that will be shared in court. Whose story will be believed will depend on the evidence offered and the ability or inability of prosecuting attorneys to show intent.

Don't let your future ride on just anyone. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to investigate all aspects of your case. By gaining access to police records, questioning the validity of any evidence offered against you and reviewing any witness statements, your attorney can significantly increase the odds of achieving the best possible outcome for your situation.

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