Recently in Assault Category

August 25, 2014

Welcome Back to the School: The D.C. Police are Waiting for You

As a Washington, DC criminal defense attorney who regularly represents college students charged with simple assault, I expect that the D.C. Metropolitan Department will be ramping up their arrests this time of year.

fist1.jpgLet's talk about simple assaults in D.C. In the District of Columbia, simple assault is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. You are probably thinking that since you have never been arrested before in your entire life, there is no reason that you would be arrested now.

The problem is that the scenario that typically leads to an arrest for simple assault is not what you would expect. I typically hear from clients who went to bar or night club with a few friends. At some point in the night, someone in the club gets drunk and starts acting rude to you or someone you are with. You try to calmly and politely tell them to stop and leave you and your party alone, but the other person doesn't stop. They may even take a swing at you, throw a drink, or do something similarly assaultive.

At this point, whether you tried to defend yourself or not, a bouncer rushes over and throws you out of the club. Sometimes, they are so forceful in throwing you out that you get injured. At this point, the police show and asked what happened. They don't ask you or your friends what happened, they ask the bouncer what happened.

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November 20, 2013

Police Investigate Fatal Nightclub Stabbing

Washington D.C. is notorious for violent crimes. In addition to investigation of homicides and domestic violence, law enforcement officers are often called to bars and nightclubs to break up disputes and fights and to investigate alleged assaults. These cases can be difficult because they will usually involve alcohol, competing versions of events, conflicting witness statements and in many cases, multiple victims or aggressors.
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Due to the complexity of these cases, it is not uncommon for the "wrong guy" to get arrested or even charged because of an assumed affiliation. Our Washington D.C. defense lawyers are experienced in investigating these cases. We understand the serious penalties faced by our clients and are committed to ensuring that defendants are fairly charged and penalized. Even if you were involved in a bar fight or scuffle, you want to be sure that all defenses are raised in your case and that you are not overcharged for a crime.

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November 4, 2013

D.C. Felony Assault Charges Reduced Against Tempestuous Singer

Embattled singer Chris Brown and his bodyguard were initially arrested in D.C. on felony assault charges recently.
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Despite the fact that those charges were later reduced to misdemeanors, Brown may still face up to 4 years in prison, as he had been serving probation in California for an allegedly violent attack on his former girlfriend, singer Rihanna, just prior to a 2009 awards show.

In D.C., probation violations can be very serious, particularly when the underlying offense for which an individual is serving probation is a felony charge. Although everyone in criminal court who is arrested is presumed innocent until proven guilty, an arrest alone may be enough to trigger a probation violation allegation that could end in a person being sent back to jail or even prison.

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January 11, 2013

D.C. Assault Conviction Overturned Due to Illegal Interrogation Tactics

Heavy-handed police interrogation tactics following a reported D.C. assault were illegal, according to the D.C. Court of Appeals, which ruled 5-2 that the subsequent conviction and accompanying 14-year sentence should be tossed. taperecorder1.jpg

D.C. criminal defense lawyers know that analysis of interrogation tactics is critical when determining a defense strategy - particularly in cases where there is a confession.

While the courts have historically given police a fair amount of leeway when it comes to interrogation tactics, particularly if they believe someone else may be in imminent danger, there are certain lines they absolutely can't cross. So for example, courts have held that police can outright lie to you in order to deceive you into offering a confession. However, they can't beat you or continue to question you after you've clearly asked for a lawyer.

You are, by law, entitled to be informed of your Miranda rights, which include your right under the Sixth Amendment to have a defense attorney present with you while you answer questions. You are entitled under the Fifth Amendment to decline to answer any questions that could cause you to incriminate yourself (and in many cases, pretty much anything you say can serve this purpose).

If your defense attorney finds that the interrogation that led to your confession violated any aspect of the law, he or she can request that the confession or any other evidence obtained as a result be inadmissible in court. The absence of this evidence can cause the case against you to quickly crumble.

This case involved the brutal beating and robbery of an 83-year-old woman who sold kitschy tourist souvenirs just outside the Metro station. The assault was captured on a nearby security camera, and the footage saturated the local media as police searched for a suspect.

A few days later, a D.C. man was arrested. He was ultimately convicted by a jury, with a judge sentencing him to 14 years in prison.

However, prosecutors today are faced with the prospect of either retrying the case, absent the confession, or drop it.

At the center of the appeal was the videotaped confession. He was handcuffed to a chair for 13 hours, and detectives reportedly questioned him repeatedly during that time - despite the fact that he said he didn't want to talk to them and asked for a lawyer. After reviewing the tape, the justices found that the defendant never actually waived his right to be silent or to speak to a lawyer, as is required for police to proceed with questioning.

His defense lawyers had previously raised this issue with two D.C. Superior Court judges in the course of an initial hearing and during trial. However, the tape was allowed to play for the jury.

In some cases, confessions may not be that vital to the case. Prosecutors may have eyewitness testimony or DNA evidence or clear footage of the alleged incident that could be just as damaging. However, in this case, the confession was key because the surveillance footage was grainy and neither the victim or nearby witnesses were able to positively identify the suspect.

That's why ultimately, the justices found the entire conviction had to be scrapped.

Our criminal defense lawyers applaud the decision. We recognize that while appellate courts are often reticent to overturn jury convictions, it was necessary in this case. Such action sends a very clear message to both police and prosecutors: That they are not above the law, and interrogation tactics must adhere to appropriate legal guidelines in order for them to be legitimate.

In the wake of this decision, the Metro Police Department has issued a statement saying they don't condone the initial interrogation techniques used on the defendant, and it's possible that the investigators involved could face internal disciplinary action if they are still employed there.

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October 23, 2012

Man Gets 23 Years for D.C. Assaults on Elderly

A 48-year-old man was sentenced to 23 years in prison for burglarizing and then assaulting two seniors earlier this summer. warveteran.jpg

D.C. criminal defense attorneys know that while both first-degree burglary and assault are serious crimes, penalties can be enhanced when the alleged victim is elderly. In this case, the two individuals were both in their 90s.

Enhancements for crimes against elderly are defined in D.C. Code 22-3601. It essentially multiplies the maximum possible sentence by 1.5 times. So if the maximum penalty for the assault is 5 years in prison, the maximum penalty for an assault committed on an elderly person is 7.5 years.

First-degree burglary in D.C. is defined in D.C. Statute 22-801. In essence, it means entering someone's residence with the intent to steal or commit some other criminal offense. A conviction for a single charge of first-degree burglary carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

The penalties are harsh, but burglary is often a difficult crime for prosecutors to prove, as it often occurs when no one is home and there may be few witnesses or available evidence. However, in this case, the alleged victims were home, they were reportedly assaulted and there was also video surveillance film of the suspect.

The defendant initially faced 75 years in prison if the case went to trial and he was convicted on all counts. With a plea deal, he received a term of 23 years.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, the defendant acted as if he was a maintenance man in order to gain access to the apartments.

In the first incident, the individual gained access to an apartment by claiming to be checking for leaks in the bathroom. The 91-year-old female resident allowed him inside. He then reportedly went into the bathroom and then punched the resident several times in the mouth. He then allegedly knocked her to the floor and tied her up with restraints. When she began yelling, he threatened greater harm against her, stole about $20 and then fled.

The victim in that case was not seriously harmed, though she was later treated at a local hospital.

In the second incident, just two weeks later, the defendant reportedly used the same guise, purporting to be a maintenance man needing to check for leaks. The 94-year-old male resident allowed him inside. After entering the bathroom, the defendant allegedly grabbed the resident and tossed him onto a bed. He then allegedly stole roughly $130 in cash, tied the victim up and then fled. A neighbor later heard the resident yelling for help and came to untie him. The man did not suffer severe injuries either, though he was later treated at the hospital for bruising and swelling.

Police caught a break in the case when surveillance footage from the apartment complex was aired by local television stations, asking for tips. The defendant's mistake had been telling another person that he would kill someone else if they informed police of his alleged role in the crime.

That individual subsequently called police, who arrested the defendant just a few days later.

If you are charged with a serious crime in D.C., it is never in your best interest to talk to police without an attorney present.

Continue reading "Man Gets 23 Years for D.C. Assaults on Elderly" »

October 17, 2012

Former Prince George Bus Driver Gets 5 Years in Assault

A former bus driver who was reportedly fed up with certain co-workers was sentenced recently on her conviction for ramming the bus into the employee lounge last year. schoolbus1.jpg

D.C. criminal defense lawyers
know that she faced up to 53 years on all charges, though prosecutors were seeking a 25-year sentence. She was ultimately sentenced to 5 years, and this is despite no prior criminal record and the fact that none of the workers who were in the lounge at the time suffered any life-threatening injury.

What probably did little to help her case was a post she made the night before on the wall of her Facebook page. In that post, she referred to the irritating actions of her co-workers, and added that she was done with fighting, done with talking and ready to go to jail.

What this message did was show intent. It showed forethought and planning. Were it not for this, it's possible a strong defense argument could have been made showing that the crash was entirely accidental or even possibly attributable to a medical condition.

You all but eliminate the possibility of an alternative theory of defense when you discuss or write about a crime before you carry it out - even if you only hint at it. Don't make the mistake of thinking that your text messages, Facebook posts or even conversations with friends are private. In the wake of a crime, particularly a serious or violent one, detectives will begin scouring every piece of fathomable evidence to which they have access. They'll check your Facebook wall and maybe even get a subpoena for your private messages. They'll get a subpoena for your phone records. They'll interview your friends and family and co-workers under oath. They might even request a warrant to seize your computer and search the files contained there. The bottom line is you can never assume that this information is going to be safe.

Which brings us to another point: You should never try to hide possible pieces of evidence from your defense lawyer. You should never, ever discuss the details of your criminal case with anyone but your defense lawyer. When you do discuss it, be totally honest. This way, your attorney can prepare and anticipate for the discovery of certain information or evidence that would tend to implicate you.

In this case, the bus driver who was charged reportedly had a temporary peace order out against one of the other drivers. A judge had just determined not to make the order final. That was about a week before the driver made the Facebook post. The following morning, around 5:30 a.m., she reportedly rammed her school bus into the side of the employee lounge, which was actually a trailer, where three people were inside.

No students were on the bus at the time, and those inside suffered minor cuts and bruises. One may need surgery to her arm.

A simple charge of aggravated assault under D.C. criminal code 22-404.01 can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment of up to 10 years.

Continue reading "Former Prince George Bus Driver Gets 5 Years in Assault" »

October 5, 2012

D.C. Defense Lawyers: Cops Don't Always Get it Right First Time

Our D.C. criminal defense attorneys have scores of anecdotal evidence to prove that there are times when, despite good intentions, police simply don't get it right the first time around.baseballbat.jpg

We know that witness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Investigations can be sloppy. Sometimes there are even false confessions.

A recent case out of Maryland just goes to further prove this point.

A 22-year-old was arrested for attacking a 72-year-old man with a baseball bat. The victim was reportedly waiting at a bus stop when he was approached by a man demanded his belongings. When the man refused, the alleged assailant returned with a baseball bat and beat him until a person nearby saw what was happening and yelled for the attacker to stop. However by that time, the victim had suffered severe injuries.

When police showed the victim a photo line-up of potential suspects. One was the 22-year-old. He was subsequently arrested and charged with felony assault.

Although the laws vary slightly between Maryland and Washington D.C., here in D.C. and assault can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If the attack results in minimal injuries, the person can be imprisoned for up to 180 days and fined up to $1,000. If, however, the attack results in significant bodily injury (or one that requires hospitalization or immediate medical attention) the maximum imprisonment is upped to 3 years and the fine is increased to $3,000.

If the attack is charged as an aggravated assault, which is that the defendant knowingly attacked a person and put him or her at risk of death or caused them to become unconscious or suffer extreme pain or some physical disfigurement. In this case, the maximum imprisonment is 10 years and the maximum fine is $10,000.

So these are serious charges.

This case was even more serious, as the defendant was initially charged with attempted first-degree murder.

With the defendant in custody, police were moving forward with the case - until a witness interviewed in an unrelated crime told police they had the wrong person in the baseball attack. This individual informed police of three others who had personal knowledge of that attack. At that point, police went on to interview those individuals and realized they had made a mistake.

They released him and subsequently arrested another man in his early 20s.

Keep in mind, not only did the victim identify the 22-year-old as his attacker, but police had earlier dismissed the possibility that the 20-year-old had been involved, based on surveillance footage captured of the incident. Investigators had determined by watching it that the 20-year-old did not match the height of the person scene in the video carrying out the crime.

But this just goes to show how unreliable evidence can be. Suspects who are falsely arrested or accused, when confronted with such "indisputable evidence" may feel that they have no alternative choice but to plead guilty or falsely confess.

This case just further proves that isn't true.

You always have options, and you should always consult with an attorney before making any statement to police.

Continue reading "D.C. Defense Lawyers: Cops Don't Always Get it Right First Time" »

July 27, 2012

D.C. Attack Investigated as Hate Crime

A 29-year-old D.C. man and his longtime homosexual partner were reportedly viciously attacked just a few blocks from their apartment recently, and now investigators have honed in on hate bias as a motivation for the crime. handcuffsinblue.jpg

D.C. criminal defense lawyers know that no one can deny that hate crimes exist. We can't say whether this situation was motivated by a hate for homosexuals or not. What we do know is that officials are often quick to pull this card, sometimes regardless of the true motivation, because they want the defendant to face the increased penalties that are incurred as a result.

One need only look at the number of hate crimes alleged in the last several years.

The Washington Post reported in 2007 that there were 19 hate crimes reported against homosexuals. In 2011, there were 42. Plus, by this time last year, there were 15 hate crimes reported, and so far this year, there have been 22.

Across the country, there have been a estimated 12,000 over the last decade.

But even gay anti-violence groups acknowledge that this has more to do with an increase of reporting rather than an increase of actual crime.

Again, that's not to say that hate crimes or those motivated by a certain bias don't happen. They do. But law enforcement officials also take advantage of the fact that in 2009, the president signed bill making it a federal crime to assault someone on the basis of his or her sexual orientation or sexual identity.

Such crimes run the gamut of acts, but here are a few examples:

1. A physical attack;
2. A destruction of certain property;
3. Burning of a cross;
4. Arson;
5. Harassment, either by phone or electronically;
6. Use of racial slurs;
7. Painting of certain hate symbols, such as a swastika;
8. Verbal abuse;
9. Fireboming a residence, church, business or other gathering place;
10. Vandalism.

It's also in violation of D.C. Code 22-4001 to 22.4004, which mandates increased penalties for crimes committed against someone on the basis of some protected status, such as their race, sexual orientation or religion. In fact, the Metro Police Department even as a D.C. Bias Crimes Task Force, which was founded back in the mid-1990s.

The challenge for prosecutors, however, is in first of all proving that the accused was the one to have committed the crime and secondly that the motivation for carrying out that crime was hatred of a certain group. Usually, this is done using certain electronic communication (which you should never assume to be private) prior to or after the attack. Things like your Facebook page, Twitter account or text messages.

They may also incorporate witness statements regarding any slurs that may have been used prior to, during or after the crime.

It will be up to your defense attorney to prove that the evidence has been taken out of context.

Continue reading "D.C. Attack Investigated as Hate Crime" »

April 17, 2012

Washington D.C. Assaults by Taxicab Drivers Scrutinized

Over the last several weeks, seven taxicab drivers have been arrested for Washington D.C. assaults against passengers. taxi.jpg

Washington D.C. criminal defense attorneys are hesitant to take the accounts of these alleged assaults at mere face value.

First, let's consider that taxi drivers was considered the 11th most-dangerous job in the country last year - ranking right up there with firefighters and police officers. In fact, Business Insider had reported there were more than 21 deaths per 100,000 workers, with 50 fatalities in 2007.

What's more, the most common cause of death for taxi drivers? It's not car accidents. It's assaults and violent acts.

And that's all for about $12 an hour.

So with that in mind, let's take a look at what's being reported.

ABC-7 and The Washington Post report that seven taxi drivers have been arrested on charges of assault against passengers.

The chairman of the Taxicab Commission told the media that there has been a marked increase in drivers who are "physically manhandling" customers. He described these incidents as involving hitting, pulling them out of cabs - in one case, a female was reportedly pulled out by her ankles. Six of the seven alleged victims were females.

This has prompted the commission to put in motion plans that would allow a panic button to be installed in D.C. cabs by the end of this year.

What hasn't been revealed is how these incidents started. Without knowing the details, it's hard to say what a possible defense in these cases could be. However, we do know we're only getting one side of the story. And given the violence that taxi cab drivers have become accustomed to being on the receiving end of, it's possible some of these cases are going to result in claims of self-defense.

Simple assault in Washington D.C. is defined under D.C. Criminal Code 22-404. Basically what that says is that there are three different kinds of simple assault. There's attempted battery assault, and that's when the suspect injures or attempts to injure another. Then there's intent-to-frighten assault, which is when you commit a threatening act that puts another person in fear that you will hurt them. And then, there's non-violent sexual touching assault. That's when there is the intentional sexual touching of another person's body without his or her consent.

In the first two scenarios - which is most likely what we're talking about in the taxicab assaults - prosecutors have to show that the suspect's actions were intentional and that the person had the ability to injure the other person at the time of the alleged incident. Penalties for these max out at a $1,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail.

An assault is considered to be more serious when it results in serious bodily injury to the other person or when the acts were caused intentionally or as a result of recklessness. In those situations, the penalties increase to a $3,000 fine and up to 3 years in prison.

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March 16, 2012

Washington D.C. Assault Alleged in Basketball Spate

Washington D.C. assault charges have been filed against one of the country's most influential basketball brokers, a man whose organization is aptly termed "D.C. Assault."

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Washington D.C. criminal defense attorneys recognize that convictions on assault charges can range anywhere from probation to 10 years in prison. It truly depends on the unique circumstances of the case - namely, how badly someone was hurt and whether a weapon was used. Assault is outlined in the District of Columbia's Official Code, Division IV, Title 22, Subtitle I, Chapter 4.

In this situation, according to The Washington Post, Curtis Malone, has been charged with second-degree assault following an incident last month at Oxon Hill High School in which a basketball coach claims Malone and two others punched and kicked him in a hallway during an event. The alleged 39-year-old victim says his teenage son witnessed the entire incident, as did several other adults and children who were present.

Malone runs the D.C. summer basketball program, which is renowned for its talent and has frequently grabbed the attention of NBA scouts.

According to what witnesses have told police, the alleged victim coached the son of one of the other men who reportedly attacked him. In fact, he had been close with the family, hosting them for dinner and other events.The child is one of the top basketball players in the country, according to The Post.

The relationship was warm, apparently, until the child left his first coach's program for Malone's more high-profile program over a year ago.

Since then, the alleged victim had been granted a restraining order against the child's father. It's not clear what sparked the animosity.

What has so far been reported about this incident is that as the alleged victim and his son were leaving the event, Malone, the boy's father and a third, unidentified man approached him in the hallway and reportedly attacked him. The alleged victim said he continue to be struck even after curling into a fetal position. The incident lasted about 90 seconds, according to witness accounts.

The man said he tried to defense himself, and did land a single punch on the boy's father, but then curled into a ball.

The alleged victim them called 911 twice, saying there were cuts on his face and his forehead and face were beginning to swell.

In addition to Malone, the young basketball star's father is also facing second-degree assault charges.

Administrators from the high school have been quoted as saying there are cameras in the hallway where the incident reportedly occurred, yet there is no recording of the alleged attack. It's not yet clear whether that will become an issue but it seems sure to as the case moves forward.

What may also work against these defendants is that there was more than one individual reportedly attacking a single person. This is going to be seen as a more serious offense in the eyes of the law.

Continue reading "Washington D.C. Assault Alleged in Basketball Spate" »

March 9, 2012

Fight withTransgender Prostitute leaves D.C. Cop Facing Criminal Charges

An off-duty police officer has been indicted on a slew of Washington D.C. assault and weapons charges, following an altercation during the officer's alleged attempt to hire transgender prostitutes. He is also facing two counts of solicitation of prostitution.

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As our Washington D.C. criminal defense attorney understands it, the officer is being made to answer to nine charges in all, which could amount to more than 30 years behind bars if he's convicted.

The details, according to the Washington Post, are somewhat sketch, but here's what we know so far:

The 48-year-old Washington D.C. Metropolitan police officer was reportedly outside a local drug store on First Street around 5:30 a.m. There, he was allegedly attempting to hire two transgendered prostitutes by the name of "Kayla" and "Chloe." While talking with one of the individuals, another person approached and began arguing with him.

That's when a security guard working at the drug store asked all of them to leave. The officer then reached for his handgun, which was in the glove box of his Cadillac. He brandished it to the individuals standing there before getting in his vehicle and driving away.

The two prostitutes then met up with other individuals and left the store in another car. Then in an odd development, the car driven by the officer collided with the car containing the prostitutes.

That's when investigators said the officer dove on top of the hood of the other car and began firing his gun into the windshield. Bullets were said to have struck one of the passengers in the arm and hand. At the time, witnesses said the officer was shouting that he would kill all of them.

He was later arrested on the scene.

This all may seem somewhat straightforward, given the fact that several witnesses are attesting to the facts in the case. However, there is some additional background information that could play in the defense's favor.

First, any potential jury is going to have to weigh the credibility of a veteran officer against statements made by known prostitutes.

Secondly, the officer's attorney has been quoted by media as saying the officer was defending himself. He hasn't expounded on that, but it will be interesting to see what approach is taken.

And finally, the officer had been on sick leave at the time of the incident. His defense attorney may need to parse out more details about the nature of that illness and whether it may have played a role in the events as they unfolded.

Prosecutors say the officer had a pattern of reckless behavior, and had been fired from the force 8 years ago for drunk driving. But that decision was later reversed and the officer was allowed to attend a diversion program before returning to work.

At the time of this most recent incident, the officer was said to have been intoxicated.

Continue reading "Fight withTransgender Prostitute leaves D.C. Cop Facing Criminal Charges" »

January 18, 2012

On Assault with Intent to Kill and Other Serious Washington, DC Felonies

As a Washington, DC criminal defense attorney who handles serious felonies, I often get calls from wives, girlfriends, or parents of people charged with assault with intent to kill (AWIK), assault with a dangerous weapon (ADW), and other similar charges. Make no mistake, these are very serious charges and must be handled quickly and properly to help get the best possible result for your loved one.Hospital.jpg

The first thing to think about is if you can get him out of jail before trial. Let's look at the process of being held on a serious felony in Washington, DC. After being taken to a police station and booked, he will be transferred to the Metropolitan Police Department (MDP) Central Cellblock (CCB). The CCB is located underneath MDP headquarters at 300 Indiana Avenue. If the defendant has been processed into the CCB before 10:00am on a weekday, he will make the "felony cutoff" and be taken to Superior Court and held in the US Marshal's cellblock until 2:00pm. On a weekend, it may be much earlier in the day.

The next step is to go to courtroom C-10 for presentment. This is when the attorney you hire will plead not guilty, waive a formal reading of the charges, request initial discovery, and ask that the defendant be release on his personal promise to appear at the next court date. If the defendant is charged with AWIK, or ADW, there is very little chance of being released at this point. The presentment judge will almost certainly place a hold on the defendant and he will be taken to DC jail until the next court date for a preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing does offer a real chance to get the defendant released, placed in a halfway house, or given an ankle bracelet (put on the box). If your attorney makes the proper arguments and the facts are in your favor, this is basically the only chance to get released before trial. If it doesn't happen at the preliminary hearing, the defendant will probably be held for the next 100 days. If you are going to hire a private attorney to represent your loved one on DC felony charge, you should do so as soon as possible, so that he can help at the preliminary hearing.

Regardless of release conditions, the case will be considered a Felony One and will be assigned to an experienced prosecutor who will have a lot of recourses to conduct an investigation and find evidence to help convict the defendant. It is important for the attorney you hire to have a good investigator of his own who can help do the same for you and find out all of the problems with the government's case. These cases must be handled carefully so that the best result can be achieved. Always remember that an arrest is not a conviction.

January 10, 2012

Assaults in Washington D.C. Pick Up As It Gets Colder: What You Need to Know

As we hit January in Washington D.C., college students are back to class and the temperature will continue to drop. A combination of these factors and others usually means people are hitting up the local bars and spending long nights bundled up indoors.

There are times when a long night of drinking and reveling with friends can lead to some serious trouble with the law. Being charged with assault in Washington D.C. can not only derail a college education or a career, but it can lead to penalties and fines and fees and a headache.
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Our Washington D.C. assault defense lawyers are prepared to handle these types of cases because we recognize that a person shouldn't have to bear the burden of one mistake for the rest of their lives. Mistakes happen and accidents happen, but sometimes overzealous police officers make a mountain out of a molehill not taking into consideration the harm that can do to the suspect.

In Washington D.C., there are different forms of assault charges and the penalties vary greatly depending on which level of charge the person faces. They can range from misdemeanors to felonies and can be punishable with minor jail time or serious prison time. Each case varies based on its individual facts.

-A simply assault is something as minor as a threat, which tends to happen every day. In most cases, people disregard it and everyone moves on with their lives. In some cases, people press charges and that can lead to 180 days in custody and/or a $1,000 fine.

-Assault with significant injury is a felony and is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $3,000 fine. Pretty self explanatory.

-Aggravated assault. This is another felony and when the scale of penalties increases to 10 years plus a $10,000 fine. An attempted aggravated assault cuts those penalties in half. The law states that if a person acts intentionally, purposefully or with a disregard for human life and causes serious injury, they face this charge.

-Armed aggravated assault. An aggravated assault while armed with a weapon can lead to up to 15 years in prison.

-Assault with a dangerous or deadly weapon. This is another serious assault charge on the books in Washington D.C. If a person is carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon while assaulting someone, they can be sent to prison for 10 years.

None of these charges are minor and you can imagine they happen fairly frequently in the District's bar areas. You've probably seen some of these go down in the early hours of the day at your local watering hole.

But there are defenses to these charges, including self-defense and weak eyewitness accounts, that can go a long way toward beating the charges or getting them dropped. Every case is different, but what doesn't change is the need and requirement for a suspect to have an experienced and knowledgeable Washington D.C. criminal defense attorney helping them throughout their court case.

Continue reading "Assaults in Washington D.C. Pick Up As It Gets Colder: What You Need to Know" »

September 8, 2011

Woman Pleads Guilty to Washington, DC Assault Charge for Stabbing Her Boyfriend During Sex

knife_in_hand.jpgAccording to a recent story in the Washington Post, Thomure Queen admitted to pulling out a knife and stabbing her boyfriend in the upper-right chest area while the two were having sex. Queen was high on PCP, a controlled substance, at the time of the assault that occurred in Northeast Washington, DC. It has further been reported that Queen and her boyfriend began fighting after the stabbing occurred, and that the boyfriend hit queen with a potted in plant in self-defense. Queen ran out of the house. DC Metropolitan Police (MPD) found blood in the bedroom and a broken pot near the bed. The victim gave police a cellphone on which the couple had recorded these events. Queen has been ordered to be "stepped back" or held in jail until her sentencing on November 18th. Court records indicate that she pleaded guilty to one count of assault with a deadly or dangerous weapon (ADW). In Washington, DC, ADW is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison.

As a Washington, DC assault charges lawyer, I often deal with people charged with assault who may have actually been the one attacked, and should have never been arrested in the first place. This is especially true in the case of simple assault charges that involve an incident that occurred at a bar. As I have discussed in previous posts on this blog, I have represented clients who have been thrown out of bars and beaten by bouncers, then end up getting arrested when it should be the other way around. One reason for this is that many bars and clubs pay for off-duty police officers to work at their establishments as security. The officers are members of the MPD, but also work for the club, and will often do what the club asks them to do. This may mean that an assault victim gets arrested for simple assault against bouncers twice his size.

While, I have been talking about Washington, DC simple assault charges, these issues may also apply to more serious assault charges. It is not uncommon for someone to be charged for assaulting someone who attacked or threatened him first. It may also be the case that the alleged victim has a substantial criminal record. My investigator sometimes discovers that the alleged victim has a long history of violent crimes, domestic violence, drugs, or even gun charges. This may be one of the reasons the government likes to black out victim's names and contact information on all documents they provide to the defendant. It is because of this that if you have been charged with an assault crime, it is important to hire an attorney who will listen to your side of the story, conduct a thorough investigation, and fight the charges when appropriate.

Continue reading "Woman Pleads Guilty to Washington, DC Assault Charge for Stabbing Her Boyfriend During Sex" »

July 27, 2011

Five Women Have Been Slashed with a Box Cutter in the Buttocks at Fairfax Shopping Malls: On Washington, DC Assault Charges

Box Cutter.jpgAccording to a recent story in the Washington Post, a teenager was shopping at XXI Forever at a Fairfax mall when she felt a sharp pain. She first assumed she had been jabbed with a hanger until she saw blood. This slashing marks the fifth such assault in the Washington, DC Metro area since February. It has been reported that on all five occasions, the suspect distracted the victim and then slashed her with a razor or box cutter. All five victims were females between the ages of late teens to early 20s. The attacks started on Valentine's Day. In all five incidents, the alleged attacker managed to cut through at least two layers of clothing and break the skin, but all wounds were said to be superficial, and none of the victims required hospitalization. The mall manager describe the assaults as "very unique," and stated that he had never seen anything like this before. Police say they are taking the incidents very seriously.

The suspect was caught on surveillance cameras in some of the incidents and appeared to be a heavy-set Hispanic man in his late 20s who is approximately five feet, six inches tall.

As a Washington, DC assault charges lawyer, I do get calls from people who have been accused of attacking someone with a weapon. In DC, this type of assault charge is called assault with a dangerous or deadly weapon (ADW), which is a serious felony. The US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia could also add additional charges like aggravated assault while armed (AAWA). One of the main things you will discuss with your criminal defense attorney is whether these charges are appropriate, or if the government is trying to overcharge the case to scare you into taking a bad plea deal. They do this all the time.

Another charge that may not be appropriate to your case is assault with significant injury. The prosecutor may try to show pictures to a jury of a victim bleeding even though the wounds are only superficial, and the alleged victim did not require emergency medical attention. One of the most important things your attorney can do to help defend a Washington, DC assault charge is work closely with their private investigator to find out what really happened. The police have their side of the story, and you have yours. The police report was done for the purpose of getting a conviction, and not necessary for the purpose of telling the whole truth, even if it's bad for their case.

In previous entries of this blog, I have discussed simple assault charges.