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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23182
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hi Im in need of someone with experience in criminal law.

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Hi I'm in need of someone with experience in criminal law. If a man was attacked physically by another man with just his hands and the result was the attacking man was choked into a coma by the defending man. Would charges be brought upon the defending man? when? would he be arrested right away? or would they await for the man in the coma to wake up? if the man woke up (say 6 months later) would that change anything?
Hello Jacustomer,

Yes, charges would be brought against the defending man. He would have a self-defense claim, but that would not prevent his arrest.

Whether he would be arrested right away depends on numerous facts and circumstances. But typically, they would not wait for the man to come out of a coma to arrest him. They would arrest him and charge him with either a first degree assault or an attempted murder. Then if he recovered during the pendency of the case or, worse yet, if he died, the charges could be amended as a result of the new evidence.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi. Thank you. Two more questions if you don't mind. If the man in the coma woke up, could he drop the charges? If he did this would the defending man have a criminal record?
Hi Stephen,

Once the case has been filed with the court, it is no longer the complainant's case. It belongs to the state. If the man wakes up, he can ask the prosecutor to drop the charges, but the prosecutor doesn't have to listen. The prosecutor is entitled to go forward to trial if he wants. Whether he will listen or not is nothing I can predict. It would seem to me that if the man woke up and said that his assailant had only acted in self defense and that he wanted to drop charges, the prosecutor would consider it if the complainant's story was believable.

The arrest record would show even if the case was dismissed. In some states, the arrest can be removed from the record throught the state's expungement process, but in others, it cannot be.
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