Can I be charged if I gave bruises to someone who assaulted me?

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Can I be charged if I gave bruises to someone who assaulted me?

One night, my mother got incredibly drunk and assaulted me while I was attempting to keep her keys away from her. She was not making an attempt to drive but I did not want her to make an attempt later in the evening. In the struggle for the keyring, she punched me in the face. I grabbed both of her arms and she bit my lower lip. In an attempt to keep her mouth away from my face, I turned away from her. I can’t exactly remember how due to how traumatic the event was, however I was on the floor with her on my back and I flipped her over me onto her back. I then attempted to restrain her by grabbing both of her arms and keeping my left forearm under her chin so she could not bite me anymore. after a minute or so I let go of her. She then got onto my bed and flailed around while screaming. I mention this because there was a game console lying on the bed that she could have hit herself against. A day later, I’m having to talk to a family friend that I got to help me track her down so I know when my mother would come home. I’m later informed that I gave her bruises apparently so severe that she was able to obtain a restraining order against me, the victim. My mother not only has a history of high blood pressure, but as I mentioned before, was also drinking heavily. Any bruises that she has, I gave to her in self-defense. Is it possible for me to be charged with anything? How was she able to obtain this restraining order? A court date is set for 8 days from now, but I don’t want to be left in the dark for that long, nor do I want to be blindsided in court since I received no information. Should I look into hiring legal help before this court date?

Asked on November 19, 2017 under Criminal Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) You can be charged if she tells the authorities you attacked her. Remember: when she reports the alleged crime, you are not there to dispute it--the authorities hear only her vision when she files the report or asks that charges be brought. You can, however, raise self defense as a defense to the charge, since it is not a crime to injure someone in self defense. The court will listen to your version, listen to hers, and decide who is more likely telling the truth.
2) A protective or restaining order is about keeping people separate to avoid further conflict or injury. Again, it is brought initially on only on the alleged victim's say-so, though you can dispute the matter in court, by again showing that you were not the attacker.
3) Yes, you should hire a lawyer to help you: a lawyer, familiar with the law, court rules, and rules of evidence, will greatly increase your chance of a favorable outcome.


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