What should i do if I’m being charged with injuring someone in a fight but they started it?

I was in a fight and the person who started I got hurt. Later they filed charges against me. I have witnesses to state that this other person was the one who attacked me and I was just defending myself. What should i do? I have to go in on Thursday to get booked.

Asked on July 1, 2014 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

Richard Southard / Law Office of Richard Southard

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You need to hire an attorney experienced in investigating and handling self-defense cases. They can interview your witnesses, and present your defense to the DA even prior to trial and hopefully convince the DA to dismiss the criminal charges.  Assault in the Third Degree is a class A misdemeanor punishable up to one year jail and $1000 fine or 3 years probation. If you are convicted of the crime, it is permanent as NY does not expunge criminal records.

Maury Beaulier / MinnesotaLawyers.com

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Self defense is an affirmative defense to a criminal charge of assault.  As a result, you should retain aggressive legal counsel. A conviction for assault can carry with it jail time and fines.  Additionally, there may be significant collateral consequences to a conviction. 

First, if convicted of an assault offense, employers who require a background check will not hire you. That is particularly true if you work closely with customers or in some other service oriented profession.

Second, many landlords now perform background checks for applicants and, if you decide to rent, you may be denied an apartment with a crime of violence such as an assault on your record. 

Third, a conviction for assault may result in licensing problems for certain occupations or interfere with acceptance into some schools of higher learning.

Finally, it is also compelling that a non-citizen may suffer deportation and, even a citizen would lose their right to possess a weapon, even for hunting purposes, after a conviction.

 Often, the best defense is a good offense.  In most instances, an argument for self defense or defense of others may be made and Motions should be served to acquire all statements and medical records from the prosecution.  


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