Elements of an Assault on an Officer Charge
In Alexandria, a physical attack on an officer yields much greater penalties than a typical assault and battery charge due to the victim of the crime. While the elements needed to prove the case are quite similar, the primary difference between the two charges will always come back to the penalties that can be imposed when an individual is convicted of a charge involving the physical attack on an officer. If a person physically attacks an officer who is not in the discharge of their duties at the time of the assault, they will not receive a felony charge. The government can still prove the lesser included charge of simple assault and battery at a trial on that charge, but that is the primary distinction.
Someone who is facing charges of this magnitude should contact an experienced assault attorney as soon as possible. Immediate action is crucial during the early stages of a criminal charge so that a lawyer can begin building a strong defense to combat the prosecutor.
Prosecution and Defense
A key element in the way that a prosecutor will approach an assault on an officer in contrast to the way they will approach an average assault case is the way in which they will prove that a defendant is guilty. In a case that involves the physical attack of law enforcement, the government will have an additional burden of proving that the victim was a police officer who was on duty at the time of the attack. With that in mind, these cases will be prosecuted much more aggressively. Prosecutors know all of the officers within their area and because of that familiarity, they will give a lot of weight to how a police officer wants to see a case handled.
In some cases, an officer will not take an assault personally and have no true investment in the outcome of the case. There are, however, other scenarios where an officer will be very offended or upset by what happened when they get to court. This can make the prosecutor much more difficult to deal with, which makes it much more likely that the only fair resolution that a person can get is post-trial rather than by plea agreement
Impact of Body Cameras
Body cameras affect the way that cases move forward and how they are prosecuted, as well as the fact that they create more evidence in the case. In the past, there may have been one version of a confrontation by an officer, another version by a witness, and an additional version by the respondent. However, as a result of police officers having to wear a body camera, the video evidence provides a more objective view of the events that transpired. The court is provided with audio-visual evidence that not only gives viewers a clear depiction of the events that occurred from the first-person point of view but also captures any statements made by the parties involved.
Elements of Proof
When prosecutors approach an assault on an officer case, they must prove two major elements of the crime to convict the defendant. Those elements are as follows:
- Prosecutors must prove that the victim is an officer in the discharge of their duties.
- They must show that there was an unwanted touching of that officer done with the intent to do harm.
The main evidence that a prosecutor will have to use in court is the testimony of the officer who experienced the physical attack. There may also be a testimony given by other witnesses as well as photographs of any injuries that the officer suffered as a result of the physical contact. Finally, any statements made by the person charged can be used as evidence at trial.
An assault on an officer case is going to be heard differently because a felony charge is heard by a circuit court rather than a general district court. Normal assault and battery cases are misdemeanors that are only heard by a general district court judge.