When it comes to being arrested for assault, there are numerous different types of assault with which you can be charged. One such charge in many jurisdictions is the assault on a public official, which means that you're accused of assaulting someone who works in an official capacity, which can range from a parking enforcement officer to a judge. This is a serious charge, and one way to fight it with your criminal defense attorney is to get it dropped to a basic charge of assault by arguing that you didn't know the person was a public official. Here are some points to make in this defense.
The Person Wasn't In Uniform
If the person whom you're accused of assaulting was in uniform at the time — such as a parking enforcement officer — it can be difficult for you to argue that you weren't aware of this person's status. However, there are plenty of situations in which it's possible to be involved in a non-uniformed public official.
For example, if you're alleged to have gotten in a shoving match with another parent at your child's soccer game, and it turns out that the other involved party is a public official who wasn't on duty, there's no way that you'd know of his or her status.
You Didn't Know the Person
If you're an acquaintance of the person, you'd likely know that he or she works as a public official — and this can lead to a serious assault charge even if the person wasn't in uniform. However, a good defense for the charge of assault on a public official is that you didn't know the person and hadn't had any encounters with him or her prior to the alleged incident. Your criminal defense attorney will argue that without any background knowledge of the person, there's no way that you could have known his or her profession.
The Person Didn't Tell You
Don't overlook the small details of your case that may be pivotal. For example, in the above scenario of a shoving match with someone who turned out to be a public official, it's possible that the other party may have said something to inform you — perhaps, "You'd better stay away from me — I'm a judge." However, it's also possible that this statement never occurred, and if no witness to the incident can attest to the other party saying anything of this nature, it can further help your case. For more information, contact a criminal defense lawyer.