Criminal Defense Lawyer Mount Pleasant, SC
When a person is charged with assault, it is not uncommon for a battery charge to also be attached. Under South Carolina law, assault is a non-physical act of threatening someone so that they fear for their safety. Battery is the actual act of violence the perpetrator uses against the victim. A person can be charged with assault if they threaten a victim, whether blatantly or an implied threat, even if the physical harm never actually took place. If you have been charged with assault or battery, a criminal defense lawyer in Mount Pleasant, SC can help defend you against these charges.
Assault Must-Have Intent
In order to prove an assault, the prosecutor must prove that the accused intentionally behaved in such a way that the victim had a reasonable belief that they were at immediate risk of harm. There must be evidence of this intent, such as physical gestures and/or language. A criminal defense lawyer can dispute that evidence by showing:
- The accused’s behavior was misinterpreted by the victim.
- The accused’s behavior was unintentional.
- The victim’s belief that the accused acted in a threatening way was unreasonable. For example, some people have irrational fear toward people based on their appearance.
If an accused person actually committed the assault, a Mount Pleasant criminal defense lawyer can still build a defense against those charges. For example, if the accused was acting in self-defense, that could be enough to get the assault charges dropped because stopping an imminent battery is an affirmative defense. The lawyer would have to prove that:
- The alleged victim was an immediate threat of violence to the accused or to another person.
- The actions by the accused went only far enough as was necessary to stop that imminent danger. If the accused continued to assault the alleged victim once there was no longer danger, then the self-defense defense would likely be ignored by the court.
Although both types of charges are serious ones, it can be easier to defend against an assault charge than to defend against a battery charge, depending on the circumstances. This is because there is no physical harm involved. The police or prosecutor must prove that the accused had the intent to harm the victim.
Common Mistakes to Avoid After Getting Arrested
When you get arrested, you may have hundreds of thoughts running through your head. You might wonder if you will have to spend time in jail or if the arrest will affect your future employment. However, it is important to stay calm so that you do not make mistakes that could hurt your case.
Here are a few common mistakes a criminal defense lawyer Mount Pleasant, SC residents trusts wants you to avoid.
- Talking to the police. After you are charged with a crime, the police may ask to speak to you about your case. They may even tell you that they want to help you. However, keep in mind that the police just want to question you to obtain information to use against you. To avoid damaging your case, politely tell the police that you can’t speak to them any further until your lawyer is present.
- Not taking your charges seriously enough. Even if you are completely innocent of the crime you are charged with, it is still important to take your charges seriously. If you miss your court dates or fail to follow your lawyer’s advice, you can make things worse for yourself.
- Discussing your case with family and friends. When you are dealing with criminal charges, you understandably feel stressed and may want to confide in your family members and friends. However, this can backfire. If the prosecution decides to subpoena these people, they will be legally obligated to tell the court everything you told them. It is best to just confide in your lawyer.
- Neglecting to hire a lawyer. No matter what type of crime you have been charged with, it is important to have a Mount Pleasant criminal defense lawyer on your side. He or she can build you a strong defense and improve your chance of achieving a favorable outcome. A lawyer can guide you through the entire process and give you a peace of mind. Ideally, you will want to retain a lawyer as soon as possible after you get arrested.
- Leaving the state. When you are facing criminal charges, it may not be best to travel out of state. The court may assume you are trying to flee your charges and send out a warrant for your arrest. If you have to leave the state for any reason, talk to your lawyer about it first.
- Using social media. If you have pending criminal charges, you should post as little as possible on social media. You definitely should not post any information about your case. The prosecution may be looking at your social media pages to find information to use against you.
- Getting into more legal trouble. This may sound obvious, but you should avoid getting additional criminal charges. It can worsen your current case and make the judge less sympathetic towards you. Try to keep a low profile and stay away from people who may be a bad influence.
Do Not Try to Defend Against These Charges on Your Own
Assault and battery are considered violent crimes and a conviction can not only result in serious penalties, but it can also have a long-term, significant impact on your personal and professional life.
If you have been charged with assault, battery, or any other type of violent crime in South Carolina, you need an aggressive Mount Pleasant, SC criminal defense lawyer representing you. Call Joe Good, Attorney at Law to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out how we can help.