Long Beach Assault Lawyer
While the terms assault and battery are often used interchangeably, they are distinct criminal offenses. Assault refers to any intentional act made to cause someone to fear that they could be in jeopardy of harmful or offensive contact. Battery crimes, on the other hand, involve actual physical contact or harm. Being accused of performing either is a serious accusation, as both crimes have tense repercussions both in the court of law and public opinion. When facing a charge in either of these areas, it’s crucial to be well-informed on criminal law and how your actions may be interpreted to find you guilty. This is where a Long Beach criminal defense attorney can step in to guide you throughout the entire process.The Spectrum of Assault Crimes
Assault crimes in Long Beach can arise in many different forms, all carrying different implications for the individual accused of committing the crime. Simple assault is the lesser offense on the spectrum. It involves any minor threats or attempts to cause harm that do not result in personal injury. This does not mean there will be no consequences if proven in court, but it is the most minor offense in this category of law.
On the far other side of the spectrum sits domestic violence. This is intentional abuse or violence within a domestic setting against a spouse or other family member. These types of crimes are typically not isolated to just one incident. When investigated, a likely pattern of abusive behavior is often identified. These perpetrators typically engage in this form of violence to maintain power and control over another person in their life for different reasons, such as jealousy, insecurity, or perhaps even trying to combat any feelings of inadequacy.
Within this spectrum sits battery crimes, which also include an actual level of harmful infliction or unwanted physical aggression toward another person. Sometimes, this is a simple touch that was not asked for and is perceived to be harmful. In other instances, it could be a few instances of physical harm that has resulted in long-lasting injuries. If someone is being charged with aggravated battery, it either indicates there was a weapon used to commit the alleged crime or the individual was targeting a protected class.
Because different forms of violence happen in Long Beach for so many reasons, California law has taken the role seriously of categorizing all these possible scenarios and associating them with different penalties if found guilty. However, just because someone is accused of committing any of these crimes does not mean it is true until proven in court. There is a ton of nuance to explore in any criminal case, and a defense attorney will explore every angle of possibility to protect their client from unfair repercussions if someone is trying to bend the facts.What Happens if I’m Accused of an Abuse Crime?
Any legal case can have its twists and turns, but anyone accused of assault or battery can generally expect to follow this sequence of events:
Report and investigation: Once the prosecution has officially filed their claim, law enforcement will begin their investigation into the matter. This primarily involves detailed interviews with the victim, defendant, and any witnesses who may have observed the abuse. They will also begin to collect evidence, such as medical records, any digital communications, and video surveillance footage if it exists.
Arrest: If the initial investigation leads to enough evidence for a probable cause that the assault or battery occurred, the accused could be arrested. Depending on how severe of a crime the prosecution is claiming happened, bail may or may not be granted.
Charging: Post-arrest, prosecutors will take time to review all evidence collected and make a decision if they will file formal charges. A ton of factors play into this decision. The severity of the crime, the quality of evidence legally collected, and different Long Beach laws and ordinances will factor into that decision.
Arraignment: If charges have been filed, the accused will be arraigned. During this appearance in court, the accused will be informed of what charges have been made against them and will be asked to enter a plea of either guilty, not guilty or no contest.
Criminal defense representation: If the accused has not already secured legal counsel, they definitely should at this point. A defense attorney with experience defending clients in these heated assault and battery cases would be the most appropriate form of support they could secure, especially if they believe to be inaccurately accused of a crime they did not commit. The attorney will investigate every detail of the case from start to finish and will devise the most compelling defense strategy they can based on the facts and evidence. Sometimes, this looks like an attorney trying to dismiss all charges if they found some clear inconsistencies in the prosecution's work. Other times, they may recommend a plea deal to lessen the punishment if they feel opposing counsel has a solid case on their hands.
Discover and pre-trial motions: Both sides of counsel will exchange all information and evidence during the discovery phase. If either side believes there is any reason to exclude certain evidence or to dismiss the case, they would file a pretrial motion for consideration at this point.
Trial: If a plea deal is not reached, the case will go to Long Beach court. Both sides are required to present their case and cross-examine each side’s witnesses brought to the stand. Once the proceedings have finished, the final decision is left to the jury and judge.
If the defendant is found guilty, they will immediately face sentencing. The accused has the legal right to advance an appeal if they believe the wrong decision was made, which can happen right away if they give their defense attorney the signal to begin that process. This can sometimes be effective at removing or reducing the initial sentence.Why Would I Be Inaccurately Charged for an Assault or Battery Crime?
It can be really frustrating to face charges for a crime you do not believe to have committed. This is especially true in the era of information overload, where there are tons of channels to communicate local news that could negatively impact your reputation in the court of public opinion. To reverse that type of damage, you will need to work with a strong defense team that can prove your innocence and ensure that it is communicated to the public after an official dismissal of the case or a winning verdict in your favor.
Some of the most common reasons why someone is inaccurately accused of these crimes include:
Misidentification: Mistaking someone’s identity as an abuser is not unheard of. Both witnesses and victims are capable of incorrectly claiming they know who the perpetrator was. This is especially true in cases where they genuinely faced abuse, as the environment was likely very stressful.
False accusations: While there are genuine mistakes in accusations, they are also intentional false accusations to try and get someone convicted of a crime they did not commit for personal reasons. A long-standing personal vendetta is often to blame for these instances. If there is any evidence this occurred, the original prosecution could end up becoming a defendant in their own legal battles, as it is illegal to intentionally defame someone as something they are not.
Insufficient evidence to make a final ruling: Without evidence, any case solely rests on the testimony of the accuser and accused. This is not enough to make an official ruling, especially when the penalties could involve spending a significant time in prison. In addition to a lack of evidence, it also needs to be collected legally. For example, if law enforcement searched through the defendant’s home without securing a search warrant, any evidence they collected during that process is not permitted to be used for consideration. This could completely crush the prosecution’s case, which is why any good defense attorney will study exactly how any evidence was collected to see if there is room to dismiss the case.
Incorrect statements made by a witness: While a witness testimonial carries a lot of weight, it is only even stronger with other supporting evidence such as video footage or text messages that support what they are saying. Sometimes, memories fade and cannot be treated as evidence that can be fully relied on. A defense attorney will analyze all of the witnesses' testimonies and will highlight any inconsistencies in their stories they find. This could raise doubts of their authenticity to the jury, which favors the defendant’s narrative that they did not commit the crime.
Bias or prejudices: Everyone is subject to their own unconscious biases. This is something a defense attorney will want to explore as they become more closely acquainted with opposing counsel. If there is any evidence the accuser of the crime has displayed bias towards specific protected groups of people in the past, that information could be used to question if that bias has spilled into their accusation of this case.
Lack of alibi: Sometimes a defendant faces charges because they don’t have an alibi to attest they were not at the scene of the crime. This can lead to someone being falsely accused of a crime they did not commit. It makes it much easier for the prosecution to make their case without any witness who can testify opposing information. Not having an alibi doesn’t mean you will automatically lose the case; it just means your defense attorney will need to tackle the prosecution’s claims from different angles.What Are Some Alternative Punishments To Avoid Prison?
When individuals are convicted of a crime, it does not mean that prison has to be in their future. This is especially true of anyone who is a first-time offender or does not have a history of violent behavior. This opens up the possibility of being sentenced to other forms of punishment, such as:
Probation: This is one of the most common alternatives to prison, allowing an individual to still live at home and in their community. The only difference is that they will live under the supervision of a probation officer. The officer will not live in the home, but they will come to check in regularly to make sure you are meeting all the terms and conditions that were agreed upon in court. For example, this could involve taking drug tests to ensure you are staying clean.
Community service: You could take a plea deal that requires a certain number of unpaid work hours being spent in your community doing beneficial work. This could be cleaning public spaces, working in different shelters, or assisting with any community projects like cleaning up trash or sprucing up any abandoned areas in town. This can sometimes be extremely effective in rehabilitating the offender, as it ties them closer to their community and allows them time to process their mistakes.
Rehabilitation programs: Sometimes, it is clear that the offender needs treatment from a professional rather than just time behind bars. This is a case that a defense attorney can help make on your behalf. For instance, if the alleged abuse happened because you were drunk, the court may prefer you spend time in an alcohol recovery program. Successfully completing a rehabilitation program like that could be enough to make the court comfortable that the crime will not be repeated in the future.
Individual counseling or therapy: For more niche issues, a court may require certain hours spent one-on-one with a licensed therapist. Time spent here could really uncover why the incident occurred. They may dive deep into your upbringing to make any connections between unresolved childhood trauma that is linked to problematic behaviors in adulthood. Having a professional to help make those connections can steer someone on a more clear path to recovery. This can be the missing piece that will prevent them from ever reoffending in the future.Get The Criminal Defense Strategy You Need Today
If you believe to be a victim of an unjust assault charge, connect with the defense attorneys at Power Trial Lawyers today. We have spent years refining how we approach different defense strategies and will be honored to work with you and for you throughout your case.