Being the victim of an assault is a traumatizing experience that can leave you feeling scared, helpless, and alone. However, remember you’re not powerless. If you have been the victim of an assault, you can take steps to ensure that your attacker receives justice. Here are a few steps you will take when thinking about how to press charges against someone after an assault.
How To Press Charges After an Assault
You must take essential steps when pressing charges after any kind of assault. Let’s review those.
1. Call the Police
If you have been the victim of an assault, you may wonder how to press charges against someone or against the person who attacked you. The first step is to contact the police and make a report right away. That will help to ensure that your attacker is arrested and brought to justice.
When you call the police, please give them your name, address, and phone number. Provide as much information as you can regarding the assault, including:
- the name of the assailant
- where the assault took place
- when it occurred
- what the person looked like
- what they were wearing
- and what they said or did during the attack.
The more information you can give, the better the chances are that the police will be able to find the assaulter easily. The police will likely ask you to come for an interview and provide a written statement. Once the police get all the evidence, they will forward their findings to the district attorney, who decides whether to press charges. Ask a personal injury lawyer or victim advocate if you have any questions about the process. Filing a police report is critical in seeking justice after an assault.
2. Get Medical Help
One of the most crucial things after an assault is getting medical help. Even if you don’t think the injuries are severe, having a doctor or nurse check you out is critical. Not only do you need to ensure that you are physically okay, but you also need to have a rape kit performed if the assault was sexual. They can ensure you don’t have any hidden injuries and test you for diseases like HIV and hepatitis B. You may also suffer some emotional trauma. A medical checkup ensures that you receive the treatment you need. It will also document any of your injuries. This documentation can be vital if you press charges against your attacker.
3. Collect Evidence
Having as much evidence as possible will strengthen your case. It would also help if you also jolted down everything you remember about the attack, including what the person looked like, what they said, and anything else that stands out. Once you have gathered all this information, you must continue to learn how to press charges against someone. Evidence can be a few things, so let’s review those.
Doctor’s notes, images of the injuries, and bills all count as evidence. If you were injured from an assault and have bills, you must have them covered. Suing the assaulter and ensuring they are put behind bars is vital.
Billing statements from the care you had due to injuries are also considered evidence. The extent of the injuries, physical and financial, are essential for any case.
Anyone who witnessed the assault must get their statements in written form or even video.
5. Speak with an Attorney
After you gather all the evidence, it is time to speak with an experienced assault and battery attorney about your case. They will review your evidence, help you decide if pressing charges is right for you, and guide you on how to press charges against someone. The lawyer can also investigate the assault and gather evidence to support your case. In addition, the attorney can negotiate with the district attorney to get the charges dropped or reduced. Victims of crime have many rights under state and federal law; an advocate can help protect those rights.
If you go to trial, the attorney can represent you in court and argue your case before a judge or jury. They will also walk you through each process step to know what to expect. Having an experienced attorney by your side is vital throughout this process. Assault cases can be complex and difficult to win without professional legal representation. Make sure you hire an attorney with experience handling these cases and who makes you feel comfortable and confident moving forward. With their help, you stand a much better chance of getting justice for what happened to you.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they don’t get paid unless you win a settlement in or out of court. A contingency fee schedule ensures the lawyers will work hard for you and that you don’t have any more out-of-pocket expenses. Other areas of practice that work under a contingency are:
6. Get Support
Assault is a grave crime; if you have been the victim of an assault, you may feel scared, alone, and helpless. These feelings are normal, and it takes time to work through them. However, it is essential to remember that you are not alone and that there are people who can help you through this difficult time. The first step is to get Support from friends or family members. They can provide practical and emotional support as you navigate the process of pressing charges.
If you feel uncomfortable talking to them about what happened, some professional counselors can help. Seeking professional help can speed up the healing process. A counselor or therapist can help you deal with your feelings and start to move on.
Some victims also find it helpful to join a support group for assault survivors. Talking to others who have been through similar experiences can be very helpful. Your local victim services agency can help you with immediate needs like housing, transportation, and medical care. Finding an experienced victim advocate can also be helpful.
7. Understand the Criminal Justice Process.
Once the police have your report, they will decide whether to press charges. The case will be sent to the prosecutor’s office if they do. The prosecutor will then decide whether to file charges. If the charges you file are successful, a court date is set. The entire process can take months or even years. Understanding that the criminal justice system is complicated and slow is essential. Remember, even if someone gets a conviction of assault, they may not receive a lengthy prison sentence.
8. Be Prepared for the Possibility That Charges Will Not Be Filed
Unfortunately, the decision to press charges is out of the victim’s hands in many cases. The prosecutor may decide not to pursue the case and file charges even if the police believe there is enough evidence. There are numerous reasons why this might happen, but it is essential to remember that it is not personal. The prosecutor’s office has limited resources and must decide which cases to pursue and how to press charges against someone.
9. Be Prepared for the Possibility of Going to Trial
You will need to testify when the case goes to trial. That can be a difficult and emotionally draining experience, but it is essential to remember that you are not alone. Other witnesses who will be testifying against the defendant will be present, and you will have the support of the prosecutor and victim advocate. Talk to your attorney if you feel scared or unsure about testifying. They can help prepare you for what to expect and give you the support you need.
Pressing charges against someone who has assaulted you is a difficult decision to make. However, it’s important to remember that you have the right to seek justice, and pressing charges is one way. If you’re hesitant about whether you want to press charges, consider talking to a victim advocate or counselor who can guide you on how to press charges against someone.