What Happens When You Press Charges on Someone for Assault?

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If you are the victim of an assault, you should first file a report with the police to begin a record for a potential court case. Once charges are filed, a court prosecutor will review the case and determine the next steps.

If found to be a viable case, an arrest warrant will be issued for the perpetrator, and a court case will be prepared. An attorney will guide you through the process, and the outcome could be varied, typically including jail time and a fine for your assailant.

This post will discuss in more detail what happens when you press charges on someone for assault, the primary types of assault, and the potential results when a guilty verdict is returned from the court.

How Is an Assault Defined?

In general, an assault is an intent to put someone in a state of apprehension, harm, or contact that would be considered offensive. Although any physical injury is not required to qualify as an assault, it may be part of the incident.

What Are the Main Types of Assault?

There are generally three types of assault crimes under the law, all of which may have varying degrees and could be considered either criminal or civil:

  • Simple assault: A Simple Assault is the lowest form and would require the victim to feel threatened to qualify. Physical harm would not necessarily have to be involved for it to be considered a Simple Assault.
  • Aggravated assault: Aggravated Assault is a bit higher on the spectrum and includes using weapons such as a firearm or knife. This form of assault involves bodily injury of a serious nature and would be considered a felony in a court of law.
  • Battery: Battery is the act of harming someone with physical force. This form of assault goes beyond the mere threat of violence and follows through with the intended harm to the victim.

What Is the First Thing You Should Do Following an Assault?

In the event of an assault, depending on what has been done to you, you should first contact the police and file a police report as soon as you can. Try to remember everything you can about the location and the perpetrator to relay that information for filing a report.

Any information you can provide will help locate the person who assaulted you. When an officer arrives, they will record a police report based upon the information you provide, and you will sign the document, making it part of your evidence.

You should also ask for the officer’s business card to reach out to them if you think of new details once you have collected your thoughts. Details can sometimes take time to surface following an assault.

If you have been injured, you should quickly seek medical attention. Call an ambulance, or ask someone to take you to the hospital if your injuries are not life-threatening. Do not wait, as this could be the difference between life and death. You should also refrain from cleaning yourself up, as this may remove vital evidence left by your attacker.

Is It Worth Pressing Charges for an Assault?

It is always worth pressing charges following an assault if you feel you have been harmed mentally, physically, or both. Sometimes, you won’t realize what kind of damage has been done until you have a moment to step away from the situation.

Always seek the guidance of medical professionals for your injuries. When deciding to press charges, you would also seek help from an experienced attorney when facing a potential court case. More importantly, you should avoid contact with that person during the process. Obtaining an order of protection may also be necessary in some cases.

How Do You Press Charges After an Assault?

Following an assault, although it may be best to visit a police station to file charges, you could also call them to file charges. You would explain to them that you want to press charges, and filing an assault report would begin the process.

In your report, the attending officer will ask for a few specific details, including:

  • Your name
  • The name of your attacker
  • Your address (and your attackers, if known)
  • The location of the assault
  • What transpired
  • When the assault took place.

If you do not have their name or address, you will be asked for a description of the person that assaulted you.

Are You Required To Have Proof of an Assault When Filing Charges?

When filing a police report for an assault, the more details you can provide, the better. If you have evidence of physical damage, be sure to show that to the officer, and remember to document everything you can throughout the process.

You will be given a copy of the police report, which will be used as evidence for your case. The prosecutor will receive a copy of your complaint, at which time they will determine whether or not it is something they feel warrants prosecution.

Suppose enough information and evidence are provided to the prosecutor. In that case, they will follow through with a prosecution against your attacker, at which time they will request that the judge issue a warrant for their arrest. Officers will continue investigating the crime to collect further evidence that may be required for the court.

What if You Failed To File a Police Report Following the Assault?

If you failed to file a police report after an assault was committed against you, there might be a lack of necessary evidence to supply to the court. You would have to provide sufficient evidence for a prosecutor to feel it is something they can pursue. Therefore, filing an assault report with the police is always best. After you file, keep a copy of the report for your records.

Is There a Statute of Limitations Concerning Assault Charges?

Yes, a statute of limitations in place usually applies to an assault, depending upon the type. These time limitations vary from state to state. They also vary from crime to crime and depend upon the crime committed.

In some states, sexual assault or battery crimes do not carry a time limit. Some require evidence such as DNA. In any such cases, you should seek advice from an attorney regarding an assault you are unsure of.

What Happens Once Assault Charges Are Filed?

Next, you would want to contact a personal injury attorney to guide you through the process. The court system can be complicated, especially for someone who has been a victim of assault and may be traumatized by the event.

Your attorney will help you navigate the court system, and with the evidence and testimony you provide, they will use their expertise in crafting a solid case against your assailant. In many cases, both mental and physical damages will be sought by your lawyer.

What Kind of Charges Result From an Assault if Found Guilty?

Once your case has been filed, and if your assailant is found guilty following a trial, the charges will vary from state to state. In general, such crimes are considered either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the severity, resulting in jail time and fines in most cases.

Suppose your attacker is prosecuted for the assault. In that case, you may be entitled to compensation from the government under the Crime Victim Compensation fund to cover any needed therapy or loss of wages while recovering. PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, could also be a factor for you, depending on the assault you have endured.

How Do You Find Out if Someone Has Filed Assault Charges Against You?

If you have assaulted someone, and you are not aware whether or not charges have been filed against you, you can expect to either receive a summons in the mail or you may have one hand-delivered to you by a sheriff. This process varies depending upon the state in which the assault took place.

If you anticipate that a case may be filed following an assault that you have committed, you can contact the county court clerk where the incident occurred to inquire about any pending warrants or court cases that may have appeared with your name attached.

What Should You Do if Someone Has Filed Assault Charges Against You?

If you find yourself on the receiving end of either an assault or battery accusation, you should immediately seek the professional counsel of a criminal defense attorney. They will help you to determine the best way to proceed due to their expertise in such matters.

However, if you are being sued additionally for inflicting injuries, your best option would be to seek a defense attorney trained in personal injury cases. They will know what to do to ensure you would have the best possible outcome for your case.

Final Thoughts

What happens when you press charges on someone for assault? The outcome can be varied and depends on multiple factors.

If you are a victim of assault, it is always best to file a report with law enforcement. Aside from holding the perpetrator accountable for their actions, immediately filing an official report allows you to determine your next course of action once you have recovered from the incident.

You will also want to secure an attorney and seek proper medical attention to support your case. All these elements, in addition to the severity of the assault, will play a role in determining what happens when you press charges on someone for assault.


Reference Legal Explanations

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  • " What Happens When You Press Charges on Someone for Assault?". Legal Explanations. Accessed on July 23, 2024. https://legal-explanations.com/blog/what-happens-when-you-press-charges-on-someone-for-assault/.

  • " What Happens When You Press Charges on Someone for Assault?". Legal Explanations, https://legal-explanations.com/blog/what-happens-when-you-press-charges-on-someone-for-assault/. Accessed 23 July, 2024

  • What Happens When You Press Charges on Someone for Assault?. Legal Explanations. Retrieved from https://legal-explanations.com/blog/what-happens-when-you-press-charges-on-someone-for-assault/.