Learning that you are being investigated for a crime can lead to confusion and stress. You might be eager to tell the officers all you know so that they can rule you out as a suspect. Or you might believe that if the officers had all the facts, they would understand your actions were justified.
Talking to officers without legal counsel present is a mistake, regardless of the circumstances. Anyone involved in assault investigations in Mesa should contact an attorney immediately. What you say could significantly impact the case, so having sound legal advice from an experienced lawyer before speaking with investigators is essential.
According to Arizona Revised Statute §13-1203, to assault someone is to knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly cause a physical injury; touch them with intent to harm; or put them in reasonable fear of imminent physical harm. Proving the intent of the alleged assailant is critical to making an assault charge stick. Causing physical harm accidentally is not an assault.
If law enforcement officers did not observe an assault, statements from the alleged victim, witnesses, and the alleged assailant would usually provide evidence of the alleged assailant’s intent. If the alleged victim and assailant knew each other before the incident, communication such as voicemail and text messages could also help establish intent.
An alleged assailant must avoid making statements to law enforcement officers that prosecutors could interpret as establishing an intent to commit an assault. A suspect is entitled to have a Mesa attorney present during any interviews with law enforcement officers in the assault investigation process. Answering questions without a lawyer could significantly weaken a defense case.
Besides the statements of participants and witnesses, police officers investigating an assault will consider other evidence. They use the information they collect to decide whether they have sufficient proof to charge someone with misdemeanor or felony assault.
If the assault allegedly occurred in a public place, a video of the incident might be available. Officers will canvas the area to determine whether surveillance camera footage is available and review it if so. Sometimes, witnesses record an incident on their cell phones, and officers will also review that evidence.
If a complainant allegedly suffered injuries in the assault, reviewing their medical records could be an essential part of an investigation. Certain injuries merit elevating an assault charge to aggravated assault, a felony.
People sometimes wait until after an assault investigation results in an arrest and criminal charges before contacting a defense attorney. However, a suspect could potentially avoid being charged if they work with a Mesa attorney during the investigation while the police are still collecting evidence.
A lawyer experienced in handling assault investigations can prevent an accused from implicating themselves when speaking with investigators. Additionally, they could present alternative explanations for evidence the police discover.
Our dedicated legal team in Mesa could present a coherent narrative explaining the evidence without implicating liability for the alleged assault. In such cases, law enforcement authorities might decide they have insufficient evidence to support an assault arrest and prosecution.
Although our system requires a jury to treat an accused as innocent until proven guilty, the officers investigating crimes often have the opposite mindset. They might believe you are guilty and be determined to find evidence to prove it.
If you are the target of an assault investigation in Mesa, contact a diligent attorney immediately. Grand Canyon Law Group will force the investigators to treat you fairly and fight tirelessly for your rights. Call today for a consultation.