Our Client was charged with assault and battery following a nasty neighborhood dispute. Our Client and her Neighbor got into a disagreement about a timeless neighborhood issue: turning around in a neighbor’s driveway.
This lead to a heated verbal altercation outside of my Client’s house. Following the altercation, the Neighbor told the police our Client pushed her in the back. My Client claimed she never touched the Neighbor.
When we got to Court, our Client was offered a solid plea bargain: Plead guilty, be put on probation, and the conviction will disappear after probation.
Our Client turned this down and chose to go to trial, insisting on her innocence. She knew going to trial meant the possibility of a guilty verdict, resulting in having the conviction on her record.
This is the uncertainty many people face when choosing whether to plead guilty or go to trial. A plea bargain results in certainty about the outcome of your case, whereas in a trial you can win and walk away, or lose and be in a worse position than if you had plea bargained.
Each person charged with a crime has an absolute right to take their case to trial. You don’t even need a reason.
You can go to trial whether you’re 100% innocent, 100% guilty, 50% innocent and 50% guilty, believe the crime you were charged with is unfair, or believe you were the true victim of the situation.
In this jury trial, the government charged that our Client had committed an assault and battery. Legally speaking, the definitions of assault and battery are a bit more specific than how they are used in the public.
This is how I explain the terms to clients. A battery is when I punch someone. An assault is where I try to punch someone but miss or threaten to punch someone and I have the present ability to carry out that threat.
You can substitute any sort of offensive touching with the word “punch”, and there’s your definition of assault and battery. The jury can find a defendant guilty of the offense if they find the defendant committed either an assault or battery.
Our Client’s claim was absolute innocence. Indeed, she had never been in a physical fight in her entire life. She had never even spoken to this Neighbor before the night she was accused. Why would she now start fighting people over little things?
We got our answer when we sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the police station, asking for all police reports involving the Neighbor.
We found the neighbor had called the police on basically all her neighbors for various reasons. The neighbor had been using the police department to bully her neighbors for years.
The jury trial lasted most of the day. The jury deliberated for about an hour before delivering the verdict: Not Guilty.
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ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108
We can represent you in Courts in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Plymouth, and throughout Metro Detroit.