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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Building a Bucks County Assault Defense

The elements that a Bucks County prosecutor needs in order to prove an assault on an officer took place are manifold. First, they must establish that the individual making the accusation is an officer or other protected civil servant. Furthermore, it must be the case that said the individual was acting in their official capacity at the time of the alleged altercation. Next, the prosecution must show that the officer was injured or that the defendant  did in fact attempt bodily injury. Those are the required elements of meeting the burden of proof before the court.

If you are facing charges, a Bucks County defense lawyer will be able to help you build a defense to your assault charges in Bucks County, as well as guide and advise you throughout the legal process.

Role and Impact of Police Body Cameras

Police body cameras play a significant role in cases pertaining to the prosecuting individuals charged with assaultive crimes against police officers. This is because body cameras show exactly what actions did and did not take place.

In cases where an individual was unruly, maybe under the influence of drugs or alcohol, body cameras would be very helpful in prosecuting cases, where prosecutors must show the mental capacity for such an assaultive behavior or intent. Additionally, when a person is charged with aggravated assault felony of the second degree, a certain mens rea, or criminal intent, is required.

The defense is just as likely to use the evidence from a body camera to show that a person may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol and therefore acting in a manner inconsistent with their normal behavior. Under those circumstances, body cameras can even help a defense. In most cases, anything that can help to make the credibility determination on those more serious cases can help with either defending against a serious aggravated assault case involving an officer or prosecuting the same.

Potential Mitigating Factors and Defenses

General criminal defenses to assaultive behavior are available depending on the circumstances. For instance, self-defense and the attempted defense of others may both be entirely valid arguments. Additionally, lack of intent plays the most crucial role. Should a person make a mistake, or fear that they are being assaulted, that could clear them of any accusation of mens rea or criminal intent.

In any of those cases, a number of things can occur. An individual can assert a defense that will result in their being found not guilty of a particular crime. In other cases, the mens rea can offer a clearer picture to a judge and prosecutor as to what actually occurred. While an acquittal may not be an available outcome once all is said and done, a lesser-included offense such as simple assault or even a diversionary program in some cases may be an option.

Court Expectations

The cases in Bucks County involving felonies and/or misdemeanors above summary crimes are all heard in the same capacity. They all begin at the magisterial district court level and they ultimately end in Doylestown, at the county seat. There, following a defense, a case can be handled in a way that leads to one of multiple outcomes, including:

  • An acquittal, a verdict of ‘Not Guilty’
  • A conviction, which can include probation and/or incarceration
  • A diversionary program, which would ultimately help a person’s record and provide them some relief upon the completion of some community service

Other possible penalties that need to be mitigated with a defense include fines or classes such as anger management.

How an Attorney Can Help

Facing charges for assault can be intimidating, and handling the legal system alone can be overwhelming. Having a lawyer with extensive local and courtroom experience can make the difference between success and failure as you attempt to mitigate the damages and work to achieve the best outcome possible when building a defense against  Bucks County assault charges.