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Proving Assault on an Officer Charges in DC

In cases involving police officers, prosecutors typically attempt to secure convictions using the testimony of the officer who claims they were assaulted. Prosecutors sometimes also use testimony from other witnesses who claim they saw the assault take place.

When proving assault on an officer charges in DC, it can be critical for a prosecutor to distinguish the nature of that charge. An established assault on an officer attorney can help you fight the prosecution’s case against you.

How are Assault on an Officer Cases Treated?

When a charge of assault on a police officer consists of significant bodily injury to the law enforcement officer or committed a violent act that created a grave risk of causing significant bodily injury to the officer, those circumstances increase the possible penalties a person could face in an assault on a police officer case.

In those situations, the maximum penalty is up to ten years in prison and fines up to $25,000. When a person causes significant bodily injury to the law enforcement officer or creates a grave risk of causing significant bodily injury, that person could face felony-level charges. In all other circumstances, the maximum possible penalty a person faces is up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000.

Penalties Associated with Assaulting an Officer Offenses

There are two levels of assault on a police officer offenses. Typically, someone convicted of assault on a police officer faces a maximum penalty of up to six months in jail and fines up to $1,000.

When an assault on a police officer allegedly caused significant bodily injury or was committed in a way that creates a grave risk of causing significant bodily injury to the officer, the person charged in those cases faces a maximum possible penalty of up to ten years in prison and fines up to $25,000.

What Elements do DC Prosecutors Need to Prove?

Proving assault on an officer charges in DC is a requirement for the prosecutor’s case in order to get a conviction. Prosecutors must prove that the person assaulted the officer because of or while that officer was engaged in the performance of their official duties.

In the eyes of the law, the accused had no justifiable or excusable cause to commit the assault. Prosecutors must also prove that the officer was a member of an authorized police force, a campus or university special police, a fire department, a probation officer, a correctional officer or one of the other enumerated occupations listed in the DC Code

How Body Cameras Impact Assault on an Officer Cases

Prior to officers being required to wear body cameras in Washington, DC, assault on a police officer cases, for the most part, relied solely on the testimony of the officers involved. With the more recent development of requirements to wear body cameras, this has definitely changed the way assault on a police officer cases are prosecuted.

Officer body cameras can sometimes contradict an officer’s version of events. They can be used to challenge allegations by officers that assaults were intentional as opposed to passive resistance. In general, they can be used to contradict the officer’s version of events.

Common Defense Strategies for Court

Officers do not commonly watch their own body camera footage before writing their reports. There are some situations in which the version of events described by an officer as written in the report is directly contradicted by body camera footage that is later disclosed to defense attorneys.

It is important that defense attorneys request body camera footage to review before the prosecution begins their attempt at proving assault on an officer charges in DC. That can often shed light on many of the allegations and can be used to directly contradict the versions of events provided by officers in their reports or the versions provided by supposedly independent witnesses who may be other police officers.

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