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legalgems
legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 9736
Experience:  Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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I was physically attacked by my neighbor when I told him to

Customer Question

i was physically attacked by my neighbor when I told him to keep his dogs out of my yard for the 1000th time. He approached me from 50 ft to the fenceline and we had an argument. He then preceding to invite me to fight when I refused he came around the open portion of the fence and struck me in the face which resulted in us falling to the ground where he continued to punch me 2 more times causing a large cut under my eye. I had been drinking but was not so intoxicated to not know what I was doing, neverless, the officer charged us both with assault and also charged my neighbor with property damage. I feel the officer charged me because initially when asked if I had been drinking, I said no. But immediately after within seconds, I apologized and said yes I had been drinking. I feel like the officer charged me based on my credibility because I told and untruth even though I immediately corrected it. This has resulted in me having to accuire an attorney to defend myself, even when I never even touched the other guy except for trying to get him off me. This doesn't seem quite right to me, and my neighbor is claiming self defense saying I swung at him. I feel its a he said she said situation, and I'm worried I could be charged for something I didn't do and also this guy may walk free to commit this act again. any advise?
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Virginia
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: other than the assault charges and trying to find attorneys I guess not. not sure what you mean
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I have no criminal record but he does. sex offender and he spent 10 years in prison for this crime. the guy is a creep
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  legalgems replied 7 months ago.

Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

Expert:  legalgems replied 7 months ago.

I am sorry to hear this;

You are correct in that many court cases come down to he said/she said; however, the burden in criminal cases is for the prosecution to prove- beyond a reasonable doubt-that the defendant committed the act for which they are accused. Self defense is a legal defense, so long as it is not excessive (ie shooting someone for punching them). An attorney can be very helpful as they can challenge evidence, and cross examine witnesses. For example, the attorney will likely interview neighbors to see if there were any witnesses. They will also question the officer to determine if they had grounds for charging the person for the crime. Not telling the truth is not the same as assault, so that is not the grounds for an assault/battery charge. The attorney can also hire an expert witness to opine, based on injuries received and injuries inflicted, whether it was self defense. The fact that the person entered property (trespass) without permission is significant.

The attorney will have a relationship with the prosecutor and will know which judge is most likely to dismiss the charges, or accept a plea bargain. For first offenders, the prosecutor is more likely to negotiate, and there may be alternative sentencing options such as deferred sentencing (ie probation for 6 months, then case being dismissed without conviction). The attorney will likely address the other party's "credibility" based on his background should the prosector present that person as a witness.

Another consideration: a person can be liable for damages suffered for trespass. If a person is convicted of property damage or trespass in a criminal case, that means the plaintiff in the civil case need not prove the facts of the civil case-the civil judge may take "judicial notice" of the criminal conviction, and then award damages accordingly. The plaintiff in the civil case can ask for damages- which may include medical bills, property damage (reimbursement for damaged property, or charges for repairs) and attorney fees and costs.

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