Prince William County Assault Case Process
If a person is charged with assault, he or she should contact an experienced assault attorney as soon as possible. The attorney will set expectations of the process of an assault case in Prince William County based on the facts and circumstance of the person’s case along with mitigating and aggravating factors, which can impact what one’s expectations of the Prince William County assault case process should realistically be.
The first thing that the defendant should do when charged with assault is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who regularly practices in Prince William County and is familiar with every step of the assault case process.
The second thing that the defendant should do is make a detailed list of the people, places, and things that were involved or present at the time of the incident, with details, such as witnesses’ names and telephone numbers. It would be helpful to write a detailed account of what occurred to preserve this information because some details may fade over time.
The third thing that the defendant should do is avoid discussing your version of the events with others before talking to an attorney. It is important to avoid influencing potential witnesses or otherwise alter a person’s ability to make a fair defense.
If a person is charged with assault, she or he is most likely arrested at the scene and taken to the local police department for processing. She or he would be processed then taken before a magistrate for a bond determination to be made.
In another circumstance, the accused may be issued a Virginia summons, depending on the type of assault and the type of the case. If, however, the arrest occurs after a prolonged investigation, the officer may serve the accused with a warrant or a summons and they are released on their own recognizance.
Typically the Prince William County Police Department investigates assault investigations if they have jurisdiction. The structure of the investigation, how long it lasts, and other details vary on a case-by-case basis.
Going to Court
The accused should expect that the case will be heard in Prince William County General District Court, which is located on the second floor of the courthouse complex on Lee Avenue. The accused should also expect that the case will be investigated thoroughly by the local police department and that it will be prosecuted aggressively by prosecutors in the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
The Commonwealth typically presents a variety of evidence, including witness testimony, physical evidence if it exists, pictures of the damages, and statements from the accused, if they made statements to the law enforcement officer. They may also present circumstantial evidence that puts the accused in the area of the offense, the time of the offense, if necessary. The evidence varies on a case-by-case basis.
Judges want to make sure that the alleged victims have their proverbial day in court to ensure that their voices are heard and considered. Accordingly, assault cases are taken seriously by the judiciary as well as the Commonwealth Attorney’s office and defense attorneys.
There is a variety of aggravating and mitigating factors that may impact how an assault case is treated, including drug or alcohol consumption, past criminal history, relationship between the parties, and whether it was a mutual or one-sided assault, among others.