In assault cases, as in any other case, the prosecutor represents the state of Florida against the defendant and must be present in court for every hearing. When a defendant attends the first court hearing, the role of the prosecutor is to persuade the judge that there is probable cause, e.g., reasonable suspicion to think that this person, based on the facts presented in these reports, may have committed the crime alleged.
To further understand the case process for West Palm Beach assault charges it is imperative to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable West Palm Beach assault lawyer can help build a defense against any potential penalties you may face.
Conditions of Release
After ruling that there is probable cause, the next step is to determine whether the accused individual should be held in jail or be released. Factors used in this determination are whether or not the defendant is a danger to the community if they are released, and if they are to be released, if there should be conditions imposed to properly safeguard the community from the accused person.
A danger to the community could involve the facts of the case, prior history, and if the defendant is a convicted violent felon or has any significant criminal history. If the person was murderous, has been to jail or prison previously, or has other pending cases, it is likely that this person would be determined to be too dangerous if released back into the community at large.
It is the prosecutor’s job to present evidence if they believe that the accused individual is too dangerous to be released, while it is the criminal defense attorney’s job to argue otherwise.
The second threshold that an attorney would present at the initial hearing is whether or not this defendant has sufficient ties to the community. If this defendant is released, are they likely to return to court when so ordered or run away? If this defendant does not live in the community or have any family or business ties in the community, they could be considered a flight risk and therefore not a good candidate for release
It is the lawyer’s job during the case process for a West Palm Beach assault charge to argue that the client is not a danger to the community, will come back for court, and should be released with the least restrictions possible.
Determining Whether to Prosecute
It is at this juncture, when the defendant is out on bond, that the prosecutor will review the case and make a decision as to whether or not they are going to prosecute the defendant. If they are going to prosecute, they will need to present legal evidence to prove that the defendant committed the crime.
In an assault charge, that would be to prove that the person did threaten somebody with the apparent ability to imminently carry out that threat and that that person who was threatened felt that harm was about to occur to them.
The prosecutor will need to interview all parties and witnesses, to list the witnesses that are going to say things against the accused individual, and to present any statements that were taken in support of a witness’s position. They would also acquire any video tapes or DVDs made, any pictures taken to prove an injury, a weapon, or a room that was trashed due to an argument taking place in that room.
It is the prosecutor’s sworn responsibility, during the West Palm Beach assault case process, to present such evidence to the defense attorney to review, share with the client to make sure that it is legal and sufficient, and determine any applicable defenses that may be available.