Everyone would like to think that Valentines Day is a time that couples become even closer to one another and build their relationship to an even stronger one. I think, in most circumstances, this is usually the case for most couples out there. Unfortunately, this is also a time when a high amount of assaults occur. Over the years, this firm has experienced an increase in calls regarding assaults during Valentines Day week. . .I get it. Fights are usually a result of the relationship not working out and this is a time the couple usually reflects on their relationship. Issues tend to be that one person is not doing their fair share in the relationship or someone is not doing something right in the relationship. These sorts of fights happen in all relationships, or so I would imagine. And in a fair amount of these disputes, an assault happens. The legal meaning of an assault is the intent to cause pain (physical) to another person or an offensive touching to a reasonable person. Simply put, an assault is about anything! A push; a shove; a bump; a swing and a miss; these are all examples of assaults. And yes, you can go to jail for doing any of these.
Aside from the "lawyering" aspect of things and trying to get my clients the best possible result, I try to counsel my clients on getting back on their feet. I want to see them succeed in life. In most cases, and specifically in misdemeanor assaults, it is a situation every person can come out of and go on to live a normal life as long as the crime never happens again. As I understand being charged with a crime of assault is a very stressful time and assuming my client is okay with it, I try to "coach" them to get/keep a job, pay their bills, and be a contributing member of society while dealing with the assault charge. I am a big advocate for people who work or who want to work. I have had many of these types of people's assault cases dismissed or expunged. Of course, it depends on the situation. In most of these situations where the assaults were dismissed or expunged, the assaults were usually over something small and the assaults were usually ticky tack. In my opinion, the judicial system just does not have the time and resources to handle every single "bump" or "shove" in a relationship and it may really not need to be involved in every single one these situations. The judicial system's ultimate goal is to see everyone get along and to make sure everyone is being fairly treated within the law. Now to the legal side of things, what should you do if you are accused of an assault:
1. Generally, I say never speak to police. In the situation where the spouse calls the police and the police arrive at your residence, the officer is going to want a story about what happened. Be calm and short with your statements should you decided to speak. If you do not speak, the officer will likely arrest the non-reporting party. . .Because their thinking is who would call the police if they committed a crime. I have had it, where it becomes a race to the phone during an argument. I have also had it where the officer(s) were wrong and the non-reporting party was the not the initial aggressor and was taken advantage of throughout the entire relationship. Interestingly, I have even had the call from the "victim" way too often after everything has happened asking what would happen if I decide to tell the truth about what actually happened.
2. Remember you have a right to assault someone, within a reasonable degree, if you are defending yourself or another person. The new stand-your-ground law allows a little more free range in defending yourself. In this regard and this should be obvious, if someone pushes you, you cannot pull out a gun and shoot them in "self-defense" as it would not be reasonable. You get to use reasonable means in defending yourself.
3. Lastly, be respectful. Be calm and collected. When officers arrive at your residence they have (or should) their body cams running. Everything you do and say is being recorded. Should your matter go to trial, remember that a jury sees everything on the body cam.