DC Assault Investigation Expectations

When a person has been arrested on allegations of any kind of assault, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, the police are going to go about collecting evidence that they think they can use to convict them. Police will often also work in collaboration with prosecutors in the investigation to secure evidence they need to convict them at a trial, and ultimately win their case. Speaking with a criminal attorney could help you prepare for DC assault investigation expectations based on your case.

When Do DC Assault Investigations Typically Begin?

Police usually begin assault investigations by speaking with witnesses. They may try to obtain video evidence such as surveillance footage from businesses or police cameras in the area of the alleged assault. Police can also look for physical evidence such as blood, weapons or other items that may have been involved in the alleged assault but, in many situations, assault investigations can be very limited.

This is especially the case in misdemeanor simple assault investigations where there may not be very much evidence available in the case. In these investigations, evidence may be limited to the accusation of one person. While this evidence is limited, it does not mean that police and prosecutors cannot secure a conviction based solely on the accusation of one person.

Prosecutors are not required by law to present corroborating evidence or corroborating witnesses to secure a conviction, but the credibility of an individual witness or any witness for that matter is absolutely essential for the prosecutors.

How a Defense Attorney Investigates Assault Charges

Defense attorneys often conduct their own investigation to find evidence that may be useful to challenge the credibility or the reliability of prosecutor’s witnesses or to back up the defendant’s version of events. However, sometimes there are very few or no witnesses available.

In those situations, investigations may be brief. Other assault investigations can be extremely complicated. They can involve examinations of alleged injuries, DNA testing on supposed weapons, multiple witnesses, and sometimes surveillance footage.

Investigations can take several months, which is why it is absolutely essential for the defense to devote a significant amount of resources towards finding witnesses, seeking corroborating information, and researching the government’s witnesses to determine potential biases, problems with credibility, and problems with reliability.

Types of Evidence Used in Misdemeanor Assault Cases

Assault cases in Washington, DC can vary significantly based on the seriousness of the allegations. In more minor simple assault allegations, which are considered misdemeanors, the evidence that prosecutors use in trial can sometimes be limited to purely the accusation of one person (the complaining witness). The complaining witness is the accuser in a criminal case.

In many misdemeanor cases, the prosecutor’s sole witness might just be the complaining witness. Having no corroborating witnesses (no other witnesses who may have seen an assault) is not vital to the prosecutor’s case, but the prosecutor would need to prove the credibility and reliability of a complaining witness to secure a conviction at trial.

In a misdemeanor case, the credibility of witnesses is at the discretion of a judge who presides over the trial. Judges can take many things into consideration when deciding whether a witness is credible, such as their demeanor on the stand, the consistency of their accusations, and any other information that could contradict the version of events provided by the complaining witness. In those situations, a trial for a simple assault could be short.

Medical Evidence

Common DC assault investigation expectations can be impacted by the results of the alleged attack. In more complicated assault cases, such as assaults involving dangerous weapons or those that led to serious injuries, the evidence can be much more extensive. For example, in felony assault cases that depend on proving certain types of injuries, prosecutors would have to collect medical evidence to prove the seriousness of those injuries.

That can include medical reports and testimony from a treating doctor about broken bones, loss of consciousness, blood loss, or the severity of lacerations. Prosecutors might potentially be more likely to seek out corroborating witnesses, video evidence, or introduce physical evidence such as an alleged weapon, in order to secure a conviction at trial.

Defending Felony Assault Cases

In these felony assault cases, since a person is entitled to have a trial before a jury, the prosecutors are more hesitant to rely on the allegations of one single witness and may be more likely to obtain corroborating evidence.

Because the consequences are much more serious in the event of a conviction on a felony assault case, defense attorneys have to be careful to review the government’s evidence and seek out additional witnesses.

Consult with a DC Assault Attorney

If you are a suspect in a DC assault investigation and you are wondering what to expect, reach out to an experienced attorney today. In addition to providing sound legal advice and explaining the likely outcomes of a case, an attorney could help you build a credible defense. Call today to discuss your case.