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An assault can leave you frustrated and feeling less of yourself. But the truth is that you are not alone. You can seek justice for yourself.
However, there are processes to seeking justice. It would help if you learned these processes to know how to press charges after an assault correctly. It’s the first step to winning any assault case you get into
Is It Worth Pressing Charges for Assault?
Yes, pressing charges for an assault is worth it, and here’s why. When you begin the process of pressing charges against someone for assault, the police will open a file to document the case.
So, if a prosecutor refuses to proceed with the case, be rest assured that it is on record. Hence, when next the same offender assaults another person, the prosecutor would have no choice but to pick the case.
In essence, once you attempt to press charges against a person for assault, it goes down in the person’s records. So, the next time an assault charge is brought against the person, it might lead law enforcement to give that person a closer look. They would be more thorough in their investigation.
That’s a good thing, as the offender would think well next time before committing another assault. They would be on the police’s radar.
Although pressing assault charges against an offender might not always see that you get justice and the person serves jail time. Regardless, it is still worth pressing charges for assault.
Pressing Assault Charges: What Does It Mean?
Pressing assault charges means seeking justice for any type of assault against you by an offender.
A victim in an assault case could call the local police department to report an assault case or could go in person to the police department.
When you make the report, you can choose to ask the police to launch an investigation or not. If you choose to launch the process, it is referred to as pressing charges.
Now, one thing you should remember is that regardless of launching an investigation, you might not get the justice you seek.
Reporting an assault case is the first stage of pressing charges against an assault offender. There is an entire process to pressing charges. Sometimes, your case might not get to court or go beyond the local police department report stage.
Assault Charges: Types
Let’s identify what an assault is before discussing the different types.
In the US, assault is a severe offense. It can either be a serious misdemeanor or a felony. Usually, it is backed by the intention to inflict a victim with bodily harm. Sometimes, it’s done with a weapon. Other times, it occurs with bare hands.
Different types of assault charges can be filed against an offender. If you want to get busy suing an assault offender, you should know the types of assault. It helps you get better clarity on what to do- especially when gathering relevant evidence to make your case.
Here are some of the types of assault that exists. Buckle up, and let’s dig in.
An assault is classified as simple when the offender may not exactly harm the victim, but there was a threat or attempt to harm the victim. For example, an attempted battery or threat.
Now, you may be wondering how to prove a simple assault. Usually, the offender harms the victim in a certain way. It may not necessarily be physical harm. There must be fear of physical harm on the part of the victim.
Whatever the case may be, the victim has to present a reasonable explanation of why they are a victim of simple assault. A misdemeanor is typically the consequence of a simple assault.
An assault is aggravated because the offender causes physical harm to the victim. Here, they could use a weapon such as a knife, a baseball bat, a belt, a ball, and knuckle rings, amongst others.
Typically, there is evidence of serious injury inflicted on the victim. In most cases, aggravated assault usually results in severe injury or death of the victim.
Based on the level of harm done, aggravated assault usually gets tried as a felony.
This type of assault occurs when an offender physically harms a victim. There is always harmful contact with the victim with the intent to inflict bodily harm on them.
Who Presses Charges: Prosecutor or Victims?
Although the victim is an important part of the investigation, it is the prosecutor that presses charges. Of course, the victim has to submit substantial evidence that proves they’ve been a victim of an assault. Only then would a prosecutor decide to take up the case in a court of law against the offender.
How to Press Charges on Someone After an Assault
Pressing an assault charge is not difficult at all. Here are the most critical steps in pressing an assault charge as a victim.
1. Reach Out to the Local Police Department.
There are two ways to do this. You can either call in or visit the local police department in person. Choose which option is convenient for you.
When you get in contact with the police department, let them know you want to press charges against an assault.
2. Make a Report / Fill Out the Form
You’ll be asked to file a police report; this process is easy. They will give you a form to fill out. The form would request some information from you.
Include your name (or the victim’s name if you’re not the victim), the assailant’s name, when and how the assault happened, the assailant’s and victim’s addresses, and the date and time the assault happened.
Don’t forget to get a copy of the report for record keeping.
3. Wait for the Review Process
You’ll have to wait for your report to be reviewed and investigated. If the police think there’s enough evidence to launch a case file, they’ll take it to the prosecutor.
If the prosecutor, by discretion, feels like there’s a case, he would press charges and open a case file for you. If not, he won’t take up the case.
The Review Process: Can a Prosecutor Refuse to Press Charges and Why?
After investigation, it is still up to the prosecutor to decide whether he/she wants to take up your case or not. There are different reasons a prosecutor can choose not to pursue a case.
For starters, the prosecutor may decide to wait a while to pursue the case to get substantial evidence that he/she is not on the wrong side or being manipulated by the victim.
Basically, a prosecutor relies on the evidence, the law, and the facts of the case before he/she draws a conclusion on pressing charges against a supposed assault criminal.
Other reasons a prosecutor may decline your request to press charges are political pressures or there’s little to zero chances of success. Whatever the case is, the decision of the prosecutor is final.
When the prosecutor refuses to press charges, it is not the end of the world for the victim. There are alternatives.
The victim could deploy public pressure to move the prosecutor to act. Social media is a powerful tool to make this work.
Another alternative is private prosecution. Depending on the jurisdiction, a victim can hire an attorney to prosecute the offender.
FAQs: How to Press Charges After an Assault
What Happens When You Press Charges?
When you press charges, you initiate a criminal case against an offender that has caused you pain. What happens is that you’re on the path to getting justice, especially if the prosecutor agrees to take up the case, and they win it.
Can Someone Press Charges without Proof?
No, proof or evidence that a crime happened is essential when trying to press charges against anyone. That’s what the police would take to the prosecutor to make them consider taking up the case or not.
How Long After Can I Report an Assault?
The amount of time you have to report an assault depends on the state's statutes of limitation. For most states, you have up to 6 years to report an assault.
Does Accidentally Hitting Someone Count as Assault?
Accidentally hitting someone does not necessarily count as assault. The reason is that an assault is backed by intention. However, if the victim proves that it was intentional and not an accident, you could be found guilty of assault.
How Long Does a Physical Assault Investigation Take?
It depends on the nature of the assault and how quickly the police can get enough evidence to help you press charges.
What Kind of Proof Is Needed for an Assault Conviction?
A couple of evidence required in an assault case includes medical records (where applicable), eyewitness testimony, items important to the case, and police reports, amongst others.
Conclusion: How to Press Charges After an Assault
Now that you know how to press charges after an assault, you won’t have to cower in your pain anymore. Instead, you’ll stand up for yourself and other victims of assault.
If your request to file an assault charge is denied by a prosecutor, it’s not the end of the world. In this digital age, don’t fail to use any tool you can lay your hands on to bring about justice - social media is also one of those tools, don’t fail to deploy it.
Reference Legal Explanations
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" How to Press Charges After an Assault". Legal Explanations. Accessed on October 5, 2023. https://legal-explanations.com/blog/how-to-press-charges-after-an-assault/.
" How to Press Charges After an Assault". Legal Explanations, https://legal-explanations.com/blog/how-to-press-charges-after-an-assault/. Accessed 5 October, 2023
How to Press Charges After an Assault. Legal Explanations. Retrieved from https://legal-explanations.com/blog/how-to-press-charges-after-an-assault/.