It’s amazing how quickly an altercation that would normally be classified as a misdemeanor can turn into a altercation that results in felony charges, especially when there is no physical evidence to back up the escalated charges. That was the case for one of my recent clients. He was involved in what amounts to a wrestling match with a man he knew. Unfortunately the other man didn’t know that my client was a trained UFC fighter…aka not someone you want to get into a wrestling match with. Needless to say my client won this particular fight. But then the other man called the police and said the magic words; “he choked me.” Instantly my client went from being charged with simple assault, a 93 day misdemeanor, to assault by strangulation, a 10 year felony!
In this case my client was absolutely adamant that he did not choke, strangle, or in any way cut off the air supply or blood flow of this man. Even when there was the potential of a misdemeanor plea on the table, my client refused to plead guilty to a crime he did not commit. Thankfully he hired attorney Chris Kessel, who represented him from start to finish in his case.
At trial I was able to establish that despite having some red marks on his face, the “victim” had no injuries, redness, scratches, abrasions, bruising, whatsoever to his neck. In fact, the other man took pictures of his face and I was able to point out that there was absolutely no indication of any markings on his neck. I was further able to establish that even though this man claimed he was choked so severely that he passed out, when he spoke to police only moments later, his voice showed now signs of being raspy or hoarse at all. Finally, when the police arrived at the scene, the man made no mention of having been choked at all! It was only as he was writing his statement that he mentioned being choked. When I confronted this man with all of this information during cross-examination, he had no response. At one point I even got his to tell me that the police officer who took his written statement told him not to bother reading it, just to sign it. Later in the trial the officer in charge of the case testified that while he was not there when the statement was given, he had a difficult time imagining one of his officer would act in such a manner.
Assault charges are often fueled by emotional and hostile witnesses. More often than not, a verdict will hang solely on the testimony of a complaining witness. The means that you need an attorney who is skilled in the art of cross examination, who can force a witness to admit things that may contradict earlier statements, police reports, hospital records, and other witnesses. Other times a case will turn on what the defendant’s intent was during the alleged assault. It can often times be difficult if not impossible to prove what someone’s intent was. Attorney Chris Kessel has the experience needed to persuade a prosecutor, judge, or jury that you did not have the necessary intent to convict.
If you or a family member has been changed with an assaultive crime, contact Chris Kessel Law today.