Being the victim of a crime is one of the most devastating experiences any person can have. There is a sense of violation and outrage that follows, especially when the crime is a violent one. Assault can come in many forms. It can be a random beating. It can be a person you know. It can come after a verbal altercation in which that other person escalates things in an unnecessary manner. If you’re the victim of assault, you need to know what to do next. The most important question revolves around the criminal justice system. How do you press charges after an assault?
Call 911 in the immediate wake of the incident
In some assaults, you will have physical injuries. In those cases, the smart move is to call 911 if you need medical assistance. They will send out paramedics to help you, and those professionals can advise you on what to do next. If you aren’t able to make that call, then have someone around you do it. They can tell the 911 operator what happened. Later, if you do press charges, those emergency calls can be used by prosecutors as evidence of what happened to you.
The 911 call will also initiate an investigatory process on the part of police. Officers will arrive at the scene. If you are taken to the hospital, they will still arrive on the scene, arresting a person if needed or just taking statements if that’s all there is to be done. If you happen to be on the scene, officers will speak to you about what happened and what you want to do next. If you’re at the hospital, officers will likely come speak to you whenever you are ready. You’ll have the opportunity to indicate to them that you are interested in pressing charges.
The earlier you make that call, the better your chances will be of having officers make an arrest. Once they have the information, they will place a call to the district attorney’s office in the area where the time took place. Officers themselves do not press the charges. Rather, they relay facts to prosecutors. Prosecutors then accept the charges on the recommendation of the officer if there is probable cause to think a crime took place. They will then get an arrest warrant signed by a judge. This will allow them to make an arrest, beginning the legal process for the person accused of the assault.
From there, you will have a chance to participate in the process. You may be asked to testify at court if it gets that far. You may also be asked by prosecutors to approve any sort of plea agreement the defendant wishes to negotiate. While the prosecution does not have to honor your wishes, they will generally choose to do so.
Jim Treebold is a North Carolina based writer. He lives by the mantra of “Learn 1 new thing each day”! Jim loves to write, read, pedal around on his electric bike and dream of big things. Drop him a line if you like his writing, he loves hearing from his readers!