Assault charges in West Palm Beach are taken very seriously for a number of reasons. Law enforcement does not want to allow any threat, real or perceived, of violence in private or public areas since their job is to protect the community.
Any threat of assault or battery, or any mention of assault or battery, is going to elicit a very strong response from law enforcement if they are called for assistance. Many people believe that domestic arguments in the house are best handled by having the police speak with their significant other, child, partner, or spouse in order to calm them down. However, when, or if, the police are called and they see that there has been violence inflicted, whether it is verbal or physical, they are going to arrest somebody.
Due to the severity of a West Palm Beach assault charge, it is important that an individual does not hesitate before consulting with a knowledgeable attorney. An experienced assault attorney in West Palm Beach can examine an individual’s case and build a defense to help lessen or dismiss any potential penalties.
Beginning With the Arrest Process
By arresting an individual, law enforcement is enhancing the safety and well-being of the injured party once they leave the property. If no arrest is made, the fear/thought is that violence will or might escalate when the police officers leave. If the police are called and take no action and then someone gets hurt, then the public will look to them and ask why they did not do anything to prevent it from occurring when they had the chance.
If no assault has been committed, the police officers will try to calm the parties down and discuss who they will arrest if they are called back to that residence. In order to ensure one person’s safety over the other, the more aggressive person may get arrested.
In the event that law enforcement cannot determine who the initial aggressor is or was, then both parties can be arrested and charged. Due to the severity of a West Palm Beach assault charge, it is best not to call the police unless an individual is truly in fear of imminent harm and cannot remove themselves from the situation at hand.
Determining the Conditions of Arrest
Depending on the circumstances, law enforcement often makes an arrest on-scene to immediately de-escalate the situation, so they do not have to come back later that night to prevent further disruption or threat of harm to anyone.
If it is a delayed report regarding an incident that has already happened, the officers would take the time to investigate and talk to witnesses to determine whether it was a simple assault or a simple battery without great bodily harm. This would typically be reviewed by a prosecutor to determine if charges are provable and warranted. This is decided on a case-by-case basis.
There are other or additional circumstances in which law enforcement would make an arrest. They will assess whether the situation has de-escalated, take statements from the parties and witnesses, and then submit their investigation to the prosecuting attorney’s office to decide whether or not they want to prosecute.
Domestic vs. Non-Domestic Situations
In a non-domestic situation, such as an argument at the bar where the parties have no other connections besides being at that bar that night by happenstance, the law enforcement officers might give one party a summons to appear in Court for hitting or threatening somebody. That person would also be escorted off and away from the property.
To enforce these domestic situations, the law enforcement officers are going to make an arrest right then and there if they think that is appropriate. This is especially so if the parties live together and cannot stay away from each other.
There are two sides of every story, and at times, law enforcement officers are not sure who is telling the truth. In these cases, they will exercise their discretion in not making an arrest at that time but may turn it over to the prosecutor’s office for them to decide what to do.
It is important to note that law enforcement has broad discretion and authority on how to respond to any accusation of violence. If an accused individual in West Palm Beach is confused about law enforcement’s authority and discretion when it comes to enforcing an assault charge, our experienced lawyers are here to answer questions.
If someone is arrested for any type of assault or battery, they would spend at least one night in jail for the judge to review the case, and also to provide a “cooling off” period between the parties. The judge will review the case and decide whether or not the person should be released, and under what conditions, to assure the community and the alleged victim that they will be safe if this person is released.
It is to be noted that the individual charged must return to court to face the charges if they are released back into the community.
When a person charged with assault in a domestic dispute goes in front of a judge, the court can order that the person arrested have no contact whatsoever with the alleged victim. It would often mean that the person cannot go home.
They can get out of jail, but they have got to find a place to stay, whether it be at their parent’s house, a friend’s house, or somewhere else. Because a West Palm Beach assault charge is so severe, usually, a judge will allow a one-time return visit to the shared residence under the supervision of law enforcement in order for the accused to gather any personal and necessary belongings, such as clothes, cell phone, toiletries, et cetera.
Law enforcement and the Courts take assault and any accusation of violence seriously. Whether it is a threat to do violence or an actual act of violence, they want to make sure someone does not get threatened with an injury or hurt.
If you are accused of violence and are worried about the enforcement of assault charges in West Palm beach, do not hesitate to reach out to our firm to learn about your options and protect your rights.