I've been charged with assault. What now?

Whether you are at a concert with friends or at a bar relaxing after work, a disagreement can escalate quickly and turn physical. Unfortunately, that one lapse in judgment can affect the rest of your life, and while nothing can be done to turn back time and make different decisions, it is possible to present a solid defense to charges of violent crimes and make the best out of a difficult situation.

The category of violent crimes can include many different charges from simple assault to murder. The exact charges will depend on the events before, during and after the incident as well as physical evidence present — such as visual indications of an assault — and witness statements.

In some situations, it may be possible for defendants to plead to lesser charges, but this is not always an option and is a choice that should not be made lightly. A guilty plea to any crime will be on your criminal record forever and can affect your ability to get a job or work around children or other at-risk populations.

Talking with a Missouri criminal defense attorney as soon as you are arrested is crucial to the defense strategy. Your attorney can help you understand what the charges against you mean, what to expect from the court process and what the possible options and subsequent outcomes are. In the event of a guilty plea or a conviction, an attorney can also inform you of any possible alternatives in the sentencing process, such as counseling or a commuted sentence.

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