An assault charge could be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the situation. The evidence available determines how a prosecutor will charge the crime, and whether they will proceed with a prosecution.
The police must gather the necessary evidence by conducting assault investigations in Tolleson. If they arrest someone, a local assault defense attorney could investigate further.
The state must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt to achieve a conviction for any crime. To do that, prosecutors must present evidence proving every element of a crime. Arizona Revised Statute § 13-1203 describes the elements of assault. Proving an assault requires a demonstration that someone knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly did one of the following:
A physical injury could be as minor as a bruise or reddened patch of skin where the contact occurred. When injuries are more severe, the alleged assailant used a weapon, or when other aggravating factors are present, a person could face an aggravated assault charge. In that case, the prosecutor would need to prove the basic elements of assault and prove the specific applicable aggravating factor.
The first part of the Tolleson assault investigation will likely center on proof that an incident occurred. The prosecutor must be able to show that the accused made physical contact with someone or behaved in a manner that caused the alleged victim to feel afraid of imminent physical contact.
The police obtain evidence for what happened through the statements of the alleged victim and any eyewitnesses. If the incident happened on the site of a business or public place, video of the incident might exist. Police could review surveillance camera footage and cell phone video to acquire further evidence.
A defense attorney could review the same material, but they would be looking at it differently. An accused’s legal representative would look for evidence that any contact was incidental or accidental, or that an alleged victim had no reason to fear the defendant’s actions.
An assault requires an intentional or reckless act, but it is usually impossible to know for sure what was in a person’s mind. Prosecutors often depend on circumstantial evidence to demonstrate intent. They could obtain this circumstantial evidence from the alleged victim or witnesses, or make inferences based on video evidence.
Unfortunately, a person accused of assault often harms their own position by providing the police with evidence of their intent. In attempting to explain their actions, they might inadvertently admit to purposefully touching or threatening the alleged victim. It is always best for a suspect to invoke their right to remain silent and only answer police questions when they have a lawyer present.
When conducting a defense investigation into the assault charges, a Tolleson attorney would look for indications that the incident was accidental, or the contact was negligible. Depending on the circumstances, the lawyer also could look for evidence that any contact happened in self-defense or defense of others. In some situations, a defendant could assert that they were justified in their actions due to some form of external duress. The lawyer would use this evidence to assert a defense, which could result in a prosecutor deciding not to pursue charges.
If you have been accused of assault, it is important to get a skilled lawyer on your side immediately. Even a misdemeanor assault conviction could have grave consequences for your future.
Ideally, assault investigations in Tolleson are simultaneous—the police will collect evidence, and so will your lawyer. Grand Canyon Law Group uses the evidence they find to challenge the victim’s or police accounts of what happened. Call today to speak with our team.