Neighbor Disputes, Harassment and Assaults: A Criminal Defense Attorney’s Perspective
Our office has handled a wide variety of neighbor disputes, harassment and assault cases in both civil and criminal court. When we are contacted early enough in the process, most of these types of disputes end up in civil court as Anti-Harassment Protection Orders long before things escalate to police, prosecuting attorney and judge involvement. Filing or handling such disputes in civil court is ideal; however, some disputes, harassment or assaults can progress or turn directly into criminal charges. When we are in the roll of criminal defense lawyers | attorneys, it is our job to fight for your position as well as take the time to counsel you in ways that allow you to improve it. This starts with recognizing how a criminal charge and court involvement changes the dynamics of a neighbor dispute. Recognizing this issue helps our clients modify their behavior in ways that allow us to minimize the consequences or better position the case for trial.
Criminal charges arise when a police officer and/or prosecuting attorney make a determination that there is probable cause to believe a particular crime, like assault or harassment, has been committed. The very nature of such a determination requires a police or prosecutor to find one party a “victim” and the other a defendant. Whether this is accurate or not, when charges are filed, these labels become the default assumption until your criminal defense lawyer | attorney is able to present acceptable facts rebutting this or prevail in trial. Proceeding in a patient and calculated manner produces better results and makes winning the war, not the battle more likely.
When charges are filed, it is critical to recognize that at least in the initial stage of the criminal case, whether it is fair or not, the system will view the defendant as the problem so their behavior will be examined more critically than the alleged victim. Stepping back and recognizing this is essential as any defendant must stop feeding this presumption if they want the best results possible. This is not easy to do and our criminal defense lawyers | attorneys recognize that part of our role as defense counsel is taking the time to listen and speak with our clients about what will best serve their case.
Whether you are a victim of such a situation or your behavior crossed the line of criminal conduct or not, there are always steps that can be taken to better your position. Clients hire us because they want experienced, devoted and effective counsel who takes the time to make sure their rights are protected. The lawyers in our firm have a unique blend of courtroom experience, knowledge and temperament. Consultations are free but a poor choice in counsel is not. The first step is a phone call or appointment.