Self-defense is a good defense and will get the person off if they were attacked in some kind of way and had to defend themselves. A person would really have to come upon the assault with clean hands, so if someone picked a fight and the other person actually started the physical contact but then the person defended himself, it would not be nearly as good as if the person was truly innocent when they got attacked. It also helps to have a witness, because a person needs to be able to prove these things. Self-defense is definitely a good way to dodge a conviction.
Would Someone Be Able to Remove an Assault Case From Their Record?
A person who is convicted of assault would not be able to get that removed in Virginia, so they would be stuck with it. A person can do one of two things if the conviction has not happened yet. One is they could fight the case and win, in which case they would be able to remove the charge through a process called expungement so the charge is removed from the public records.
On the other hand a person can avail themselves of programs if they cannot or do not win their case, provided there are no convictions in the past. A lot of times courts have programs that allow the person to be on probation for a period of time, and they require them to take certain classes like anger management, so after the person has been good for a while, they just drop the charges. This happens quite often and there is a statute in Virginia which allows domestic assault to be dropped after two years. There are similar ones to deal with non-domestic assault. A person cannot get a domestic assault charge expunged, but they can get it dropped.
Can Someone Build a Case with Enough Evidence and Enough Witnesses?
It would not be terribly hard to prove self-defense if there were just two people alone somewhere and there was an assault. One person would claim self-defense and the other would claim it was not, but that defense may work very well because it is he said-she said. If other things were added to it, such as if one of the people was drunk and the other person charged that he was being rude and ultimately assaultive while he was drunk, then the person saying it was self-defense would not work that well.
The more witnesses there are against a person and their story, the less likely it is to work. It is not overly hard to prove self-defense. A lot of times the court will have a sense of how things happened because of the other evidence that can be ascertained, whether it is pictures, a neutral witness from somewhere else, or traffic cams. It suggests that the attacker was somehow provoked when someone is accused of attacking someone out of the blue. All of these little things can help a court decide who is telling the truth and who is lying, who got the fight started and who did not.
What Would Happen After a Person Was Arrested, How Long Will the Process Be and What Would the Process Look Like?
A person would probably be looking at anywhere from 30 to 90 days to finish the case if the charge was a misdemeanor charge, but they would be looking at an additional year or two of just probation if they were put into a program at the end of the case. They would be looking at probably 90 days maximum for the actual process from when the alleged assault occurred to when the misdemeanor trial for the issue happens.
On the other hand, they would probably be looking at more like 6 to 8 months to finish a case for a felony. It could be a little bit quicker but that is probably what would happen. The person would have to be punished and would have a year to five years of probation if they lost the case, depending on how serious it was. We did everything we could for one of our clients who had been given 20 years to start with, but ultimately he ended up with having to serve six years. He would have probation at the end of the six years and that would probably extend for another ten years after that, so it can be very long.
For more information on Facing An Assault Charge, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (703) 691- 4366 today.