A prosecutor needs to prove that at least a simple assault has taken place on an officer or that a person had the intent to cause bodily injury to an officer. A person’s “mens rea” or intent to cause the crime is at the heart of a prosecutor’s case. With a skilled trial lawyer on your side a prosecutor’s case can often be defended. While a prosecutor has the burden to build the case, a Philadelphia assault on an officer defense attorney has the job of protecting their client by fighting every element of the charges.
These cases are amongst the most vigorously prosecuted in Philadelphia because behavior that puts an officer’s life in jeopardy is not ever tolerated. More resources and hours of preparation are used to build cases against an accused.
Often multiple prosecutors are assigned to police shooting type cases and the highest penalties possible are sought. Most prosecutors believe it is their job to protect police officers under all circumstances. This becomes difficult especially when it can be proven by experienced defense counsel that the police officer is not telling the truth.
In my two decades of defending this type of case I always found it near impossible for a prosecutor to question an officer’s version of events. Therefore, it has been necessary for me in defending my clients to show the court the facts that may lead to my client being found not guilty.
Prosecutors often rely on the direct testimony of police officers and other responding personnel to attempt to corroborate a police officer’s version of events. Additionally, weapons recovered, injuries, medical records, and even video tape, if available, are used by prosecutors. On the other side, witnesses, medical injuries to an accused, eye witness testimony, and video can assist an experienced Philadelphia assault lawyer in defending your case and attacking an officer’s credibility.
Prosecutors attempt to prove intent by direct testimony from officers, using weapons recovered from the accused, medical records showing police injuries and surveillance that could show an individual harmed or attempted to harm a police officer. Intent is very difficult without direct evidence. It is the job of you lawyer to contradict the police officers version and offer evidence to prove your innocence.
I refute these charges by making sure the court, who is the ultimate finder of fact, learns my clients version of events. I do not accept the word of anyone, including a police officer, at face value. Remember, as my client you were there. You saw how the police acted and now you are being accused of a serious crime.
My goal is to recover evidence, eye witness statements and video to prove your innocence. We all have rights and we all need them defended. For two decades my office has diligently fault to get a just result for all of our clients regardless of charges filed against them.
Absolutely! Assault on police cases can involve self-defense claims, claims of pure innocence, as well as mental health claims. Intent is attacked by showing an officer to be the aggressor.
Additionally, a person’s mental capacity and age can greatly reduce a sentence. If a person is challenged in any way it is important that a court understand that.
On similar grounds it may be proven and made clear that these assault charges were only brought because police had injured an accused and attempted to “cover up” their unlawful behavior. We have seen too many instances of fabricated charges to explain an officer’s initial attack on an accused. The courts in Philadelphia are aware that this does occur and with the right lawyer on your side this can be brought to the courts attention and lead to a proven acquittal.
David Clark Attorney at Law