What Happens When Someone Presses Charges Against You for Assault

Imagine a scenario where you’re out with friends, enjoying a night at a local pub. The atmosphere is lively, filled with laughter and music. Suddenly, a slight misunderstanding with a stranger at the bar escalates quickly.

In a moment of anger, you impulsively grab a glass bottle and throw it towards them with the clear intention of causing harm. Fortunately, the bottle misses its target, shattering harmlessly against a wall.

People got involved and stopped the altercation from escalating further, but unfortunately, the police were called and charges of assault were pressed against you. This may seem like a far-fetched scenario, but it’s not uncommon for such situations to arise when emotions run high.

In Las Vegas, Nevada, where the nightlife and entertainment scene thrive, fights and altercations can easily occur. However, what may seem like a minor incident in the heat of the moment can have severe consequences that go beyond just a night of fun.

If you or someone you know is facing assault charges, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. The Defenders is a Las Vegas-based law firm with a team of highly skilled and dedicated attorneys who specialize in criminal defense. We understand the seriousness of assault charges and the potential consequences that come with them.

Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.

Understanding Assault Charges

According to Nevada law, an assault charge is defined as intentionally causing harm or putting someone in fear of immediate physical harm. Depending on the severity of the incident, it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense.

Assault charges are taken seriously by the law because they involve the threat or act of physical violence against another person. This behavior is not tolerated in society, and those who commit such acts are held accountable for their actions.

If convicted of assault, the potential consequences can include fines, probation, and even imprisonment. It’s crucial to understand what steps to take after being charged with assault to protect your rights and build a strong defense.

Initial Steps After the Incident

The first step you should take after an altercation that results in assault charges is filing a complaint with the police. The victim of the assault has the right to press charges, but in some cases, the police may decide to press charges even if the victim does not wish to do so.

Once the complaint is filed, you will most likely be arrested and taken into custody. In some cases, an officer may issue a citation or notice to appear in court instead of making an arrest. However, it’s crucial to remember that anything you say can be used against you in court, so it’s best to remain silent and request a lawyer as soon as possible.

Booking Process

After being arrested for assault, you will be taken through the booking process. This includes a detailed description of the incident by the arresting officer, fingerprinting, and taking a mugshot.

You will also be given the opportunity to make a phone call to inform someone of your situation. This is an important step as you can use this call to contact a criminal defense attorney who can represent you throughout the legal process.

Bail Hearing and Release

After the booking process, you will be taken before a judge for a bail hearing. This is where your bail amount will be set, and you may request to be released on your own recognizance or with the help of a bail bondsman.

If bail is denied or unable to post bail, you will have to remain in jail until your trial. However, with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, your lawyer may argue for a lower bail amount or even negotiate for release without any monetary conditions.

If you are able to post bond, you may continue your normal life while awaiting your trial. This time can be crucial in building your defense, and it’s highly recommended that you consider hiring a criminal defense lawyer to assist you in this process.

The Fight Begins: Building Your Defense

Once released from custody or while awaiting trial in custody, it’s imperative to begin building your defense with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Your attorney will thoroughly investigate the incident and gather evidence, such as witness statements and surveillance footage, to support your case. They will also review police reports and any other relevant documents to ensure no false accusations are made or any rights were violated during the arrest.

The trial process for assault charges involves several stages beginning with arraignment, where you enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, the case moves forward to pre-trial conferences where both sides can negotiate a resolution before going to trial.

Pre-Trial Motions

Before the trial begins, both the prosecution and defense have the opportunity to file pre-trial motions. These are requests made to the judge that can shape the outcome of your case. Common pre-trial motions include motions to dismiss or suppress evidence.

A motion to dismiss argues that there is not enough evidence for a trial or that the charges are not legally valid. A motion to suppress evidence argues that certain pieces of evidence should not be allowed in court due to legal issues or violations.

Going to Trial

If a resolution cannot be reached through negotiations or plea bargaining, your case will go to trial. During the trial, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed assault, and your defense lawyer will work diligently to rebut their arguments and present evidence in your favor.

The outcome of a trial can result in either conviction (guilty) or acquittal (not guilty). If convicted, you may face penalties such as fines, probation, and imprisonment. However, with a strong defense and skilled lawyer, you may be able to avoid these consequences.

Sentencing

If convicted of assault, the court will hold a sentencing hearing to determine the appropriate penalties for your offense. During this hearing, the judge will review the specifics of the case, including any aggravating or mitigating factors that might influence the severity of the sentence.

Your lawyer can argue for leniency or alternative sentencing options, such as community service, probation, or counseling, to reduce the severity of your punishment. Additionally, character references and evidence of rehabilitation efforts may be presented to support a more favorable outcome.

Assault Penalties to Expect

The penalties for assault charges depend on the severity of the incident and whether it’s classified as a misdemeanor or felony offense. For example, a first-time misdemeanor assault conviction can result in up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000. This is commonly known as simple assault.

However, if there are aggravating factors such as use of a deadly weapon or causing substantial bodily harm, the charge may be elevated to a felony offense. This can result in significant prison time, ranging from at least 1 year up to 6 years, and hefty fines of up to $5,000.

One other thing to remember is that this is just for assault charges. If there are other charges brought, for example, battery (when physical contact is made), the penalties may be even more severe.

Post Conviction Options

If you are convicted of assault, there may be several options available for post-conviction relief to help mitigate the consequences of your conviction. One common avenue is appealing the decision to a higher court, which can review your case for any legal errors or procedural mistakes made during the original trial. Additionally, if new evidence has come to light that was not available during your initial trial, you can file for a new trial based on these newly discovered facts.

Beyond appeals and new trials, there are other potential alternatives depending on the nature of your conviction and any associated sentences. These alternatives can include probation, community service, or other rehabilitative measures that may reduce or replace incarceration. It’s important to work closely with your criminal defense attorney to thoroughly explore all available options and determine the best course of action tailored to your specific case.

If none of these options are feasible, your next best step is to seal your records. Once your case is resolved, you may have the opportunity to seal your record, which can greatly enhance your ability to move forward. Sealing your record can help you avoid long-term consequences, such as difficulties in finding employment, securing housing, or obtaining professional licenses. Your attorney can guide you through the petitioning process, ensuring you meet all eligibility requirements and correctly file the necessary paperwork.

The Civil Case: Navigating a Parallel Process

In addition to the criminal charges, the victim of the assault may also bring a civil case against you. This civil case is separate from the criminal proceedings and involves seeking compensation for any damages or injuries caused by the assault. The compensation sought in a civil case can cover a range of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress.

It’s crucial to have a lawyer who can handle both your criminal defense and any potential civil case simultaneously. Having a single lawyer manage both aspects of your legal situation allows for better coordination and communication, which can be essential in ensuring that your defense is cohesive and comprehensive.

Additionally, a well-coordinated approach can potentially result in a resolution that satisfies both parties, possibly leading to reduced penalties or a settlement that is agreeable to the victim. This holistic strategy can provide you with the best chance of a favorable outcome in both the criminal and civil cases.

Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

Facing assault charges is a serious and daunting experience that can have far-reaching implications on one’s life. Navigating the complexities of the legal system requires a strategic approach and a thorough understanding of your rights and options.

Whether it involves pre-trial motions, preparing for trial, or exploring post-conviction relief, having a knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense attorney by your side is crucial. An experienced lawyer can craft a robust defense, negotiate for lesser penalties, and guide you through every stage of the process to ensure the best possible outcome.

Additionally, addressing any related civil cases simultaneously with the criminal charges can mitigate potential financial repercussions and help in achieving a comprehensive resolution.

The Defenders is a team of experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorneys serving clients in Las Vegas and surrounding areas. We understand the stakes involved in assault cases and are committed to providing aggressive representation to protect your rights and future. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and begin building your defense.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between assault and battery?

Assault is the intentional threat of physical harm, while battery involves actual physical contact. Both can result in criminal charges, but they are distinct offenses.

Will I go to jail if I am convicted of assault?

The potential penalties for assault include incarceration, but there may be alternatives such as probation or community service depending on the circumstances of your case. It’s important to consult with a criminal defense attorney to explore all available options.

Can any fight result in assault charges?

Not every fight will result in assault charges. The prosecutor must prove that you intentionally and unlawfully caused harm or fear of harm to another person. This can depend on various factors, including self-defense, consent, and the severity of the alleged actions.

What if I am falsely accused of assault?

It’s crucial to immediately seek legal representation if you are facing false allegations of assault. A skilled criminal defense attorney can investigate the evidence, interview witnesses, and build a strong defense to protect your rights and clear your name. Overall, it is essential to take any assault charges seriously and obtain experienced legal counsel to help guide.

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