Fort Worth Assault Defense Attorney
How do you handle assault cases?
I approach each assault case by preparing for all of my client’s legal problems because criminal cases entail every aspect of a person’s life. Additionally, I obtain information from the witnesses present when the alleged assault occurred. Police officers are required to make snap judgments in the course of their jobs, so the actual events that occurred may differ from the events contained in the police report.
It is important to determine the underlying facts.
First, the actual events determine the type of defense that my client and I will employ. In many cases, there are a number defenses provided for under the law that apply in assault cases. I investigate each of these defenses to determine if they will apply.
Secondly, the actual events may impact the offense level of the assault charge. If the events differ from the police account, the offense level that the prosecutors charge may be incorrect. This means the case as charged may result in a punishment that is not permitted by the law. This could mean the punishment is too long, or could result in the loss of constitutional rights.
I conduct a thorough review of the evidence. With this understanding, I am best able discuss my client’s options and form the best strategy.
Why is it so important to determine who was present?
A person can be justified in acting a certain way. This is true even if the legislature defined that conduct as a criminal offense. The testimony of other witnesses is very valuable to establish certain defenses. This would include whether a person acted in self-defense, defense of another person, or defense of property. Not having this information can impede my ability to give my client the best advice possible and to form an effective strategy.
What paperwork do you like to review?
In addition to police reports, I need to review a list of all the persons present and any paperwork from my client’s bondsman.
Some attorneys are bondsman; can you write a bail bond in my assault case?
I believe that it is my job to zealously and ethically represent my clients. In many cases, interests of bondsmen and attorneys do not conflict. However, the interests of a bondsman and attorney can change. This is because the attorney owes a different and more strict ethical duty to the client. Bondsmen have risked a lot of money. Lawyers need to protect their client’s interests at all times. I do not write bail bonds because I believe it could conflict with my client’s interests.
Can I get my records sealed, expunged or hidden?
Convictions for assault cannot be expunged, and cannot be hidden with an order of non-disclosure. However, the court can always order the records expunged if the charges are dismissed or if the jury or court acquits the person.
What is an assault?
Generally speaking, an assault offense occurs when one person makes contact with another person without the second person’s consent.
What types of punishments can the Court sentence for an assault case?
The punishments for assault cases vary greatly based upon the charge filed with the court and other factors such as:
- To what extent the alleged victim was harmed;
- Whether the alleged victim is given a special status under the law; and
- Whether the person arrested has any prior convictions.
Assault cases can fall almost anywhere in the range between a Class C misdemeanor (punishable by a fine up to $500.00) and a 1st degree felony (punishable by incarceration of a term of life or for a term between 5 and 99 years and a fine up to $10,000.00).
What is the difference between an assault and an assault involving family violence?
If a person is convicted of the lowest level assault charge with a family violence allegation, the right of that person to own or possess a firearm will be restricted. Additionally, conviction of a family violence offense can be used later to enhance future offenses. As with other felonies, a felony assault conviction can result in that person losing the right to vote or own a firearm.
It is also important to note that, if the case is not handled properly, the conviction of an assault with a family violence finding may be used as evidence in a divorce or custody case later.
Who is a family member?
A family member is any person that you are related to by blood or by marriage. This includes in-laws. Also, adopted children are considered to be the blood children of the parents.
Additionally, when the person and alleged victim have or had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature the case the case can include a family violence allegation. To determine whether such a relationship exists the courts will look at the length of the relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved.
Contact Fort Worth Assault Defense attorney Brian Newman.