Q: I was very drunk on St Patrick’s Day and don’t remember what happened but was told I was passed out in a street. When police and medics showed up I was put in an ambulance and then I attacked the medics and a nurse and was charged with 2 counts of aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and a disorderly conduct. I don’t believe anyone was hurt but I don’t remember a thing. I have no priors. Do I have a chance of getting charges dropped? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: Possible, yes. There is a difference between someone who intentionally punches an EMT or Police Officer and someone who is blotto drunk and while flailing their arms around comes in contact with EMT and Police. When I have had these cases, and everything went as well as possible, the results were anywhere from a dismissal in exchange for a D&A evaluation or community service, to ARD, to the defendant pleading guilty to summary offenses. If these cases don’t go well, for example, it is usually where the victims want to push a conviction. If so, you may be lucky to have the charges reduced to Simple Assault. The fact that you have no criminal history is important. Your charges are generally not accepted into ARD, but the DA has the discretion of amending them to let you into the program. This type of case requires a lot of hustle for an attorney and there is no guarantee.
Q: 5 women attack 1 woman at her home. She cuts one through fence with knife trying to scare them off. After a afternoon argument between husband and wife, 10:30 pm mother- in- law, sister- in- law , 3 other women go to daughter- in- laws house and try to kick in front door while she is sleeping with two children. She runs to back fence (side street) where they were trying to get in the yard. She pick up a small knife and waves the knife sideways to scare them while trying to hold the fence closed with her other arm. She cuts one of the women who goes to the hospital. She is charged with aggravated assault (Pennsylvania has no self defense ). Please could you tell me her outcome her trial is for one day coming soon.
A: PA does have self defense as a defense to the crimes of assault and homicide. It is a complete defense and can be raised at trial. If the jury believes that the defendant was justified in using force or deadly force in self defense to protect him or herself, he or she can be acquitted. It is not a defense to the police filing charges. Whether that works in this case depends on what the witnesses will say, what the physical evidence shows and how credible the defendant’s story is. All of these sources of evidence need to be reviewed by the defendant’s attorney with her, before any prediction about the case can be given. If she is defending her home as you say, that may work as a defense or work to get the DA to make a better offer. The facts as you present them, sound like self defense. If true and these facts are conveyed to the jury or judge, it may help things go in her favor. It reminds me of cases I handled on a weekly basis as a Public Defender and I always had favorable results with them.