What to Expect in a Chesterfield Assault Case

Assault cases in Chesterfield County are to be taken very seriously. Assault is a class one misdemeanor, and someone convicted of assault can expect some jail time and a fine if found guilty. These cases are treated very seriously because they are crimes against another person. Most jurisdictions take violent crimes against another person very seriously. Because of the serious nature of the crime, and the ensuing prosecution, it is always important to work with a Chesterfield County assault attorney when facing assault charges.

What to do After an Assault Charge

The first thing someone should do when charged with assault is to obtain a copy of the warrant/summons. Secondly, they should obtain a copy of the criminal complaint. Normally, in an assault case, the police are not present for the actual assault itself; that means somebody has taken out a criminal complaint, which led to the arrest. The warrant and the criminal complaint are important as they will appraise the charged individual and their attorney of exactly what they are facing and give details on the allegations.

Third, they should always consult with an attorney and provide them with the warrant/summons and criminal complaint to discuss their options.

After the initial arrest, an individual will go to the magistrate who will address bond. The magistrate will determine if they are going to be held or not. After their bond is addressed, they will have an arraignment where the judge informs them of the specifics of the charges they are facing, and the possible penalties. The judge will also take this time to determine the defendant’s attorney status.

Contact an Attorney

Usually, it should be possible to contact an attorney immediately. If an arrest warrant is being served to an individual, then they should tell somebody to contact an attorney for them. If they are incarcerated, the sheriff’s office should give them a phone call to contact an attorney.

Evidence and Elements of the Prosecution

During a normal assault investigation, the Commonwealth will interview the alleged victim, any witnesses, and the officers involved.

Normally, the type of evidence collected and presented by the prosecution includes, but is not limited to; pictures, witnesses, statements from everyone who witnessed the altercation, statements from the victims, and statements from the accused, if they made statements. In very serious cases, hospital records or dental records are collected and presented by the prosecution.

Normally, the prosecution tries to prove that the accused attempted to inflict or did inflict harm on the victim; with their fist, weapon, etc. The prosecution tries to prove that the accused acted with an intent to harm.

Diversion Programs and Sentencing Options

In standard assault cases, there are not any diversion programs or sentencing options available for first time offenders. However, in domestic assault cases, there are some statutory programs available to first time offenders. These programs give the first time offender an opportunity to complete anger management, probation, and to have the case dismissed.

Aggravating and Mitigating Factors

Aggravating and mitigating factors include, but are not limited to; injury to a victim, the victim’s willingness to cooperate, the presence of drugs or alcohol during an altercation, and mutually combative situations where there may not necessarily be one person at fault.

On the side of the defense, the investigation involves a complete review of all paperwork; including police reports. A defense attorney can also interview third party witnesses and the person facing the charges. In assault cases, self-defense is a possible defense against the charges. Another possible defense is mutual combat, where two people get into a fight. Accidental contact is also a defense to an assault. An experienced assault attorney will know how to maneuver through the Chesterfield court and understand what the Commonwealth attorneys are going to be looking for in these types of cases.