Maryland Assault Arrest Process
When someone is arrested, it can be a very frightening experience. Many individuals will find themselves opening up to law enforcement and will attempt to explain their side of an altercation or crime. What they don’t understand is that speaking to the police without legal counsel only makes matters worse. It is important that someone who is being taken into police custody knows that they have certain rights. Law enforcement is legally required to inform them of these rights by reading them their Miranda Rights. Two of the most important rights an individual when being arrested is the right to remain silent and the right to attain legal representation. It is crucial that an experienced assault lawyer is brought in to represent someone who is being arrested on assault charges. An attorney that is familiar with Maryland law and has a background in building defenses for similar cases will be their clients best bet at mitigating the harsh penalties that accompany an assault conviction.
The process of being arrested is one that follows certain steps, and they are:
- An individual is processed
- They are booked
- They are taken to the commissioner
- They procure their release
The commissioner is a public servant that decides whether or not an individual should be released. He or she can be released on their own recognizance, meaning they are given a date to come back to court, or they can be held on a bond, which would require them to either have family or a bondsman post the bond so they can be released. In certain instances, someone can be held without bond. This is typically only the case if there is a significant risk that the individual may flee prior to their day in court or if there is a risk to the victim at large.
There is also the possibility that a person can be been arrested and held without the possibility of release, but that is typically reserved for first-degree assaults.
Although prosecutors will generally take the lead with regard to investigating a case, and officers will assist them, when you deal with domestic violence cases, victim advocates and assistants will also play a role in the investigation. These individuals will take certain actions to garner evidence needed for trial, which includes:
- Reaching out to the victim for a testimony
- Obtaining medical records if the victim was in the hospital
- Retrieving video surveillance
911 also plays a very vital role in the investigation process. Oftentimes, the victim will call the police and those recordings can be used. Law enforcement officers will also take photographs if the victim received physical injuries during the assault, and that too can be used as evidence.
Prosecutors will use the evidence found in an investigation to prove that an individual committed a harmful, offensive, or unconsented act through contact, or that they created enough fear in the victim for them to believe that unconsented contact may occur.
The Advantages Of Having An Attorney
When someone is arrested on an assault charge, they are entitled to an attorney from the moment that they are taken into police custody. Assault is a crime of violence that carries up to 10 years of incarceration, and having an attorney is essential when facing charges of this magnitude. Even more so, it is essential to have one that possesses certain characteristics, which include:
- Understanding the ins and outs of assault charges
- Understanding the burdens of proof that the prosecutor must prove,
- Understanding the dispositions of prosecutors and judges
It is important that an individual facing charges attains the assistance of an attorney as soon as possible in an effort to create the best results possible, including the possibility of there being any negotiations or the discovery of mitigating facts that can lessen the severity of penalties. There are also variations of approaching an assault case, and only an experienced attorney will be equipped with the understanding necessary to utilize them in their clients’ favor.
Defenses & Mitigating Factors That May Be Available In An Assault Case
One of the biggest defenses in an assault case is self-defense. An individual that claims self-defense must prove that they used a reasonable and equal amount of force to that of their aggressor when defending themselves. If there is enough evidence to prove that this was the case, a self-defense approach will yield a “not guilty” verdict.
Regarding mitigating factors, the characteristics of the individual who has been charged will be extremely important. Those characteristics include:
- The individual’s character
- Their criminal history
- The crime that has been committed
If an individual has no prior criminal history, a solid background with regard to how they are perceived by their peers and their community, and they didn’t cause any major damage during the assault, those can all help lessen the sentence or create an opportunity for there to be special considerations.