If I was involved in an altercation with a bouncer at a bar and have now been charged with assault, should I hire an attorney or test my luck with the DA?

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If I was involved in an altercation with a bouncer at a bar and have now been charged with assault, should I hire an attorney or test my luck with the DA?

I was exchanging words with the fellow from about 15 feet away. He then charged at me and started swinging violently at me. I was backing him of and then went down to the ground with him. I was taken to the hospital and was told that I was hit in the head with a flashlight by either the police or the bouncer. I was released from the hospital a few hours later. I thought the situation was over but low and behold I received a post card from the court saying that I had an upcoming hearing for assault. It’s odd that I was never charged or arrested or given any sort of a citation. I would like to know what my best course of action is.

Asked on October 26, 2015 under Criminal Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

ALWAYS hire an attorney if you can afford one: hiring a lawyer, especially experienced local counsel who knows the prosecutor and judge, while greatly increase your chance of a positive outcome (e.g. having the charge dismissed), or at least minimizing the charges and punishment. If can't afford an attorney and have to go it yourself, be calm, be contrite, tell the truth (because you can assume there are other witnesses, so don't be cauht in a lie), and explain how you learned your lesson. If the other fellow swung first, state that--but if you were "exchangeing words" with him, admit that and just say you know now this was wrong. If you have an otherwise clean record, make sure to highlight that.


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