I’ve just been charged with aggravated
battery, what should I do?
Aggravated battery is a crime that requires serious injury or unconsciousness, generally.
If you’ve been injured, then you should immediately document your injuries via photographs, because most time, aggravated injury is typically the result of a fight. One person is either seriously injured or has spoken to the police first.
Photographs are important because they record your injuries at the time and can serve as valuable evidence for your defense. If you don’t take them before you’re arrested, there may be no time to record them before you’re released. It may take days to get out, and your injuries might appear to be minor by the time you have the ability to record them. This would be a serious detriment to your case.
You should also get any witnesses together, as soon as possible – anyone who might have seen the event or led up to it. Don’t count on people being around days or weeks later.
If there was a weapon involved, make sure you know where it is.
If you’ve already been charged with aggravated battery, or you have already been arrested, then there’s no point in speaking to the police, because they have already made a decision. If you haven’t been charged yet, you should not talk to police unless you have an attorney because you may still be in shock and you may not have a grasp of the details. If you talk to the police without a complete command of the facts, then an experienced interrogator can confuse you and make you appear as if you’re lying or fabricating, when you’re not.
In my experience, there are generally three defenses to an aggravated battery offense:
1) “It’s not me – you’ve got the wrong guy.”
That’s why you shouldn’t talk to the police. Never identify yourself to the police as a person involved in an altercation. It volunteers information to the police that they should prove.
2) “He wasn’t injured badly enough.”
This is a difficult defense of aggravated battery because it’s a technical defense. You’ll need to look at medical records, often requiring an expert. Or you might need someone experienced in cross-examining medical professionals, such as myself. I have lectured on how to effectively cross-examine people giving expert medical testimony.
3) “I acted in self-defense.”
This is the best defense. It doesn’t rely on any physical evidence so much as what was in your state-of-mind or what you believed at the time. This is very subjective, obviously, which is why witnesses can be helpful. Many times the person who is the apparent victim in an aggravated battery case has engaged in threatening behavior, or has made threats, just before the altercation. You have to be in fear in harm. There’s no such thing as being provoked, without people understanding that you felt were in danger, and not angry.
In short, the most important thing is to contact my office immediately, before talking to the police. You may feel it’s the right thing to do to contact the police, but you don’t want your story to be locked in by investigators.
We can help put together the facts, present them to the state, and sometimes avoid a charge altogether.