Prosecutorial Methods Employed In An Assault Case In Utah

Interviewer: As far as the prosecution goes, what sort of evidence are they going to be looking for and how they going to prosecute this?

Court Koehler: One of the things about assault is it’s one of the hardest crimes for them to prove. They have a lot of problems with it because, like I’ve been saying, it depends on witnesses. Especially in domestic violence cases, you see a lot of times a witness complains about an assault, and then a person, the spouse or the significant other, will get charged with an assault, and then the case hinges on that victim’s testimony. The victim then refuses to testify. A lot of times with assault, the other issues that lawyers see, are dealing with what the prosecution does when, say you’re defending someone where the victim has decided that they’re not going to testify, for whatever reason. Maybe they feel like they overreacted. For whatever reason, they’re going to not testify now. The prosecution, then, doesn’t have a case and they tend to get upset about that. They may look into witness tampering charges. They may attempt to subpoena the witness and make them testify.

If Prosecutors Cannot Get a Witness to Testify Then They Don’t Have a Case

A lot of times you’ll have victims that then need to get legal representation to assert their privileges against testifying against their spouse or things like that. It all hinges, really, on the witness and the victim as a witness. Where the witness and the victim report an assault and then decide later that they’re not going to go through with it. Maybe it’s as simple as they don’t want to go to court that day and testify, or they’re embarrassed, or they feel like they lied, or they’re going to get grilled on the witness stand or something like that. For whatever reason they don’t want to testify. That’s where the battle lies, a lot of times, for prosecutors. Basically, if they can’t get a witness to testify, they’re not going to have a case. Yeah. You see a lot of issues with witnesses and trying to get them to court. If they have privileges against testifying against a spouse, for instance, you’ll see a lot of fights over whether they have to or not.

Mitigating Factors For an Assault Case in the State of Utah

Interviewer: If I’m in a situation where it seems more like I’m perhaps at fault in an assault case and that’s what it’s looking like. What are some things that are going to help my case?

Court Koehler: You want to have defensive, like we talked about earlier, the self-defense, defense of self-defense, as it is one of your most common things. That’s as far as defending the charge. Something like that. There’s other defenses that are a little bit less common, but there’s defenses for things like intoxication, or if you have some sort of accident, or if you assaulted somebody in some kind of accidental way. That kind of stuff is less common, but it’s possible that maybe somebody thinks that you tried to push them or hit them but really you tripped or something like that. There’s situations where you didn’t actually assault somebody or you didn’t intend to assault somebody and you ended up scaring them or something like that. You always go over those kinds of defenses. That’s the factual defense that would make it so your charge of assault is actually not assault. You would fight that at trial and hopefully win or get the prosecutor to dismiss the cases.

If An Individual is Convicted then He or She Should Seek to Mitigate the Judge’s Sentence

If you are ultimately convicted, then you’re looking at mitigating the judges sentence. The best way to do that is to take responsibility. To show that you’re sorry and to demonstrate that you are going to change and not do things like that again. The judge isn’t going to see you in the courtroom again. Some of the best ways to do that are to go into treatment for anger management or violent behavior before the judge has a chance to sentence you. Then when you go in and you plead guilty or you get convicted and you go to your sentencing, you’ve already taken this first step. Judges tend to really like that kind of behavior because it shows that you’ve taken responsibility and it shows that you’re on a path to not be just another person that’s going to keep showing up in their courtroom with assault charge after assault charge.

By Court Koehler

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