Do You Know the Difference Between Assault and Battery? - Part 4
Mar 14, 2018
Have you been charged with Assault? If so, you're in the right place.
North Carolina Attorney Bill Powers has been representing clients charged with assault and battery since 1992. In this episode, Attorney Powers answers the questions that matter to you when you when you've been charged with assault.
I also think it's not as acceptable in our society anymore to see a bar brawl and not to have a consequence. You know, when I was in college, you'd be at a bar brawl, and people would be sitting around and maybe place that call and maybe they didn't. That's not acceptable anymore.
Robert Ingalls: Yeah, I mean even 10 years ago, for me it was like that. It wasn't quite as big of a deal, and I remember when I was even younger in school that when you would get in a fight, the police got called to the school. And my parents just, it blew their mind. It blew their mind that the police were going to show up and deal with the fight at school, and I think that just speaks to the cultural shift.
Bill Powers: Right, right. And there was a level of intentionality. School's a great example. I hadn't thought about it until you mentioned it, but there was an intentionality to a zero tolerance policy that anyone that was involved in a fight got suspended and/or criminally prosecuted, whether it was adult court or juvenile court. I don't know if that was always a wise expenditure of funds, but I think I understand the logic. The logic is, is that we don't want the rest of the kids getting injured during this mayhem or melee. There's a reason those terms mean something, is it's completely out of control. It's the worst part of humanity, you know, beating on one another literally.
Robert Ingalls: You have answered the questions I have. Is there any last words on this subject?
Bill Powers: Well, I would say that if you have been charged with one of these many different types of offenses, talk to an attorney quickly. Don't just assume that you can go into court and say, "Well, sorry, I shake your hand." There are consequences to actions. I think as a policy, the courts, the DAs, law enforcement don't take a shine to these type of offenses, and you may be needing some level of preparation going in. On a DWI case, we talk about getting an alcohol assessment, maybe doing some community service. On assault type of cases, we may send you for the same alcohol assessment. We may send you to an anger management class. There are things that you need to prepare for, I think, beforehand ... ergo, the word "prepare" ... that really make a difference.
Robert Ingalls: So you could actually get them in a better position for their very first appearance in court by doing some, maybe, legwork in the beginning, that they'd have a better outcome.
Bill Powers: Sure. It depends on the facts of the case, but it's not unusual for me to recommend a client get an alcohol assessment or some level of treatment, if it's necessary. I'm not here to judge them in the sense I think you're a terrible person, but yeah, that's a lot what lawyers do, is we explain the legal aspects, but we also counsel people, and we try to put them in the best circumstances we can, given their history and the record of the facts, to make them eligible, maybe, for a deferral type of program. Or maybe going to the DA and saying, "Can we pay you some community service or pay some restoration or fees for medical bills?" I mean, some of these things get expensive. So yes, I think there are things that you can and should do, and if you don't, I think it's a mistake.
Robert Ingalls: So that proactive approach might gain you something with the district attorney and/or the judge?
Bill Powers: Yes, and that gaining thing to me is reasonableness in showing that you're taking the offense seriously and that you ... before there has been any level of adjudication, there has been an acknowledgement that something didn't go the way it should have. It doesn't mean you're guilty. There are times where, even though the person says, "I absolutely, positively was not involved. I'm fighting this case," I say, "Go ahead and just get an assessment either way. It's not going to hurt you, and it's showing that you're taking the charges seriously." So yes, I do.
I think it's a bad idea in any type of criminal case just to roll into court and let's see how things work out. I tend to over-prepare for everything I can when I'm going to court, because there's consequences now of the convictions. I mean, with computers nowadays, records show up forever unless they're expunged, and even then they sometimes will show up on a database somewhere. I don't take anything lightly anymore as a lawyer. I want to go in there and try to help my client the best I can.
Robert Ingalls: And I assume, next to theft and larceny and things, that employers probably aren't very high on violent offenses as well.
Bill Powers: Right, violent offenses or what appear to be offenses related to substance abuse. Don't be afraid to call a lawyer. We at our office offer a free confidential consultation. We truly do want to help people, and when we don't charge for a consult, and it's confidential, why not?
Robert Ingalls: All right. Well, thank you, sir.
Bill Powers: My pleasure.
Robert Ingalls: All right.
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