How To Beat A Battery Charge
Clients often ask me how they can beat their criminal battery case. The first thing that should be said is that not all cases are necessarily beatable, although many are. It usually comes down to the determination and skill of the criminal defense attorney handling the case.
Spend time with your attorney
I have learned in my practice that the more time I spend talking with my clients, the more facts I learn about their case that I can later use in their defense. Preparing a good defense means spending time with the client, not only talking about what happened that led to the arrest, but also learning general information about the client (such as hardships they have endured in life) that can be used later in negotiations with the prosecutor.
Develop and execute a strategy to beat the case
Developing a good defense strategy early on is essential to fighting a battery case. You need a battle plan. Is this a case that should be brought to trial? If so, there is a different approach to handling the case than a case where the defendant does not want to go to trial. Should we depose the victim? Should we send the investigator to question witnesses and figure out what they are going to say? How long should we drag the case out for?
Time changes things
Battery cases often change as time goes by; victims can change their tune and witnesses can move on or fail to cooperate with the prosecutor. Also, police officers deal with a lot of battery cases and can forget what happened in a particular case. A case that appears strong for the state early on, may become much weaker 7 or 8 months later.
Depositions expose strengths or weaknesses in the state’s case
Depositions in a criminal case is where the defense attorney questions the witnesses, under oath, in the presence of the state attorney. Oftentimes cases are won or lost in deposition. If a deposition is well prepared for, and the right questions are asked, it can completely destroy the state’s case. And remember the prosecutor is present during depositions. Therefore, if the depositions go poorly for the prosecutor, the prosecutor may agree to completely drop the case or offer the defendant a much better deal.
Gather all facts helpful to your case
An important step to beating a battery case is to gather all the facts and evidence helpful to the defense. It is the criminal defense attorney’s job to gather all the facts surrounding the case. The client should also be pro-active and available to assist in the gathering of evidence.
Evidence helpful in beating a battery case:
Pictures of defensive wounds (or lack of offensive wounds)
Photos or videos that may have captured the incident
Statements of witnesses favorable to the defense
Evidence that the “victim” was actually the aggressor
The criminal history of the “victim”
Contradictory statements made by the “victim”
Prosecutors sometimes lack the complete picture
Remember that the prosecutor has the burden of proof, this means that it is the prosecutor, not the defense attorney, who must prove the case “beyond all reasonable doubt”. Oftentimes prosecutors may not know all the facts of the battery case; they sometimes lack the complete picture. This is because--unless the defendant made a statement to law enforcement, and law enforcement wrote it in the police report--the prosecutor usually does not know the defendant’s side of the story.
Blindsided at trial
Law enforcement sometimes will not gather defense information at all. They sometimes determine who the “bad guy” is and then only gather facts that tend to prove their theory of the case. When they do this, they are essentially robbing the prosecutor of very important facts. It is these defense favorable facts that are often instrumental in beating a battery case. Without knowing all the facts, the prosecutor can go to trial blindly.
Some reasons the prosecutor may drop a battery case:
The victim is no longer cooperating or is unavailable
There are no witnesses to the alleged battery
The prosecutor, after negotiations with the criminal defense attorney, has lost confidence in the case
The victim’s credibility is at issue
The “victim” was actually the aggressor
The attorneys at Soler & Simon have represented hundreds of people accused of misdemeanor and felony battery. Call us if you have further questions or would like to discuss how we can help you beat your battery case.