Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Prosecutors charged you with assault but can they prove it?

If you've been living on a Louisiana college campus for any length of time and have participated in the social scene, you've likely been to a party or two where things got a bit out of hand and a fight broke out. Perhaps you've even been involved in a similar incident yourself. When disputes occur, especially if those involved have been drinking alcohol, people sometimes say things they later regret. In fact, someone whose temper is flaring may even threaten to file assault charges against someone else.

Maybe that's what happened to you but you know you were merely defending yourself when you threw a punch. Before you knew what was happening, police were there, telling you to put your hands out so they could put handcuffs on you. Your next minutes were spent riding in the back of a police car to a county jail. Officials have since informed you that you will face assault charges in court. However, you stand by your assertion that you were acting in self-defense. Is avoiding conviction possible?

Charging with assault and proving it occurred are greatly different

Just because police walked into a chaotic situation and wound up taking everyone present into custody does not necessarily mean the court is going to convict you of assault. Prosecutors must prove (by presenting evidence) that assault, as the court legally defines it, took place. The following information provides further explanation as well as what options are available to help you build a strong defense:

  • Not all assaults are physical. It is, according to the law, possible to commit assault verbally.
  • Whether charges include a physical or verbal incident, in order for the court to convict you, prosecutors must prove that a criminal act occurred.
  • Legally, for you to face conviction for assault, the prosecution would have to convince the court that you expressly intended to cause another person harm and that you acted in a way that caused him or her to feel threatened.
  • Evidence would also need to show that you actually carried out an act that caused emotional or physical harm through aggressive behavior or intimidation.

Let's say the altercation in which you were involved initially started because you accidentally spilled a drink on someone. Prosecutors may have a difficult time proving that you intentionally spilled the drink in order to intimidate, threaten or injure the other person. It often helps to research defense strategies ahead of time to see what options best fit your particular situation. You are also entitled to review any and all documented evidence the prosecution plans to submit to the court.

Since going to court can be quite stressful, most Louisiana defendants rely on experienced attorneys to help them through the process. An attorney can also enlist testimony from witnesses whose accounts may help bolster a defense.

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Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

8048 One Calais Avenue | Suite A | Baton Rouge, LA 70809-3483 | Phone: 225-250-1812 | Fax: 225-769-0195 | Baton Rouge Law Office Map