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Why am I being charged with assault if they struck first and I was just defending myself?

There was an altercation between another gentleman and myself. During this altercation, words turned physical and the other man swung first, striking me in the face. I retaliated in self defense and struck back, knocking the man down. The next day, the police showed up to my house, informing me that the man is pressing charges for assault.


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    Joseph I. Silverzweig | Midway Law
    150 N Main Street
    Heber City, UT 84032
    (435) 659-7380
    You can be charged with almost any crime. In this case, it sounds like the man you got into a fight with went to the police and told them a different story than the one you have told me. Assuming there were no serious injuries, the charges are likely a misdemeanor assault. You will be given an opportunity to negotiate with the prosecutor and either reduce the charges to a plea deal you are willing to accept, or to take the case to trial. I have seen many cases like yours, where two individuals engaged in what we call 'mutual combat', and in general both parties are found not guilty of assault at trial, since it's impossible to prove who started it. You should hire a defense attorney to represent you in this matter, it sounds like a case you could win at trial.
    Answer Applies to: Utah - Replied: 4/3/2013
    Randy M. Lish | Randy M. Lish, Attorney at Law
    2155 N. Freedom Blvd.
    Provo, UT 84604
    (801) 235-9400
    Almost certainly there is a dispute as to the facts. Either the victim or a witness is claiming that you struck first. the prosecutor will let the judge decide what the facts are based on the testimony presented at trial.
    Answer Applies to: Utah - Replied: 4/3/2013
    Mel Dunn | Mel Dunn
    100 N. Center
    Casper, WY 82601
    (307) 267-7758
    You may have been charged incorrectly. You should defend your claim of self defense in Court.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming - Replied: 4/3/2013
    Craig Andersen | Andersen Law PLLC
    10000 NE 7th Ave Suite 330B
    Vancouver, WA 98685
    (360) 397-0111
    It would depend on the injuries the other man (I hesitate to call him a gentleman) sustained. What sticks out from your recitation of the facts is that your attacker fell down. If he was injured by striking the ground, you may be deemed to have used "excessive force." That means mire force than is necessary. The law only allows a defender to use "reasonable force." That is no more force than is necessary to effectuate your defense.
    Answer Applies to: Washington - Replied: 4/3/2013
    Shawn H. Robinson | Cook, Skeen & Robinson, LLC
    5788 South 900 East
    Salt Lake City, UT 84121
    (801) 266-7414
    Often, the police charge both parties involved in an altercation. If you acted in self defense, you did not commit a crime. Consult a criminal defense lawyer before you talk to the prosecutor or judge.
    Answer Applies to: Utah - Replied: 4/3/2013
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