Victim's Rights

questions & answers

Question: My ex-girlfirend attacked me with a crow bar and split open the back of my head and when I called the police they were trying to make it seem like I was the one who had done something wrong can I go to the police station on my own and file a report there? Also I wanted to know if I am able to go and make a report on my own will she be charged with anything?

Answer:

Nothing prevents you from walking into the police station and reporting this incident. However, if law enforcement already responded to the scene, interviewed all witnesses (including, presumably, you and your ex-girlfriend), and made its arrest determination, then I'm not sure what you hope to gain or document that wasn't already accomplished once before.

As far as the incident itself, and whether your ex-girlfriend (or you, or both of you) will be charged for a crime, everything obviously depends on what actually happened - and what evidence exists to corroborate the truth. (Although the police usually make the preliminary determination of whether to make an arrest, the final charging decision rests with the county attorney's office.) If your ex-girlfriend simply walked up to you one sunny day and hit you over the head with a crowbar for no apparent reason, then it's an aggravated assault, and indictable as a felony. She should go to jail.

On the other hand, if you provoked her with some degree of force that justified a response from her - but not to the point of using a crowbar - then you both may be chargeable for a wide variety of crimes (depending on what was said, the level of mutual violence, and presence of other weapons besides a crowbar). Finally, if she was compelled to use a crowbar as a final resort because you were assaulting her with a degree of force that she could not stave off without the use of a weapon, then her actions may have been completely justified under the Arizona self-defense statutes. (A.R.S § 13-404, and A.R.S § 13-405).

Much will depend on how the altercation started, your greater size and weight relative to her (and, if true, whether you used it), the issuance of any threats before the violence began, and the history of violence (if any) between the two of you - including a history of whether past verbal threats were typically followed by immediate and severe physical violence. So, and *only* as a hypothetical example, if: (a) on 12 prior occasions, a man has warned his wife, "Don't make me angry. You know what happens when you make me angry. If I lose control, it will be your fault," and always follows up the statement with a tremendous beating; and (b) on the 13th occasion, he says the same thing but this time she preempts the beating by whacking her husband over the head with a metal trash can lid, an investigator might not be inclined to arrest the wife (or a jury convict her) - even though verbal provocation alone does not usually justify the use of physical force in self-defense. This is because the words alone did not prompt the use of the metal lid. It was the words, combined with the reasonable expectation that a physical beating would come next, that justified the wife's resort to a weapon.

Of course, on the other hand, if the hypothetical wife simply beats her husband with a trash can lid because she's angry about his poor communication skills, or because he's cheating on her, then she has no legal defense and she should be charged with a crime.

Your question leaves out a lot of details about how the crowbar incident happened - and why. But hopefully this response will give you enough alternative explanations that you know what to expect next.

Comments:

On 10/19/07
Kevin said
I think the last questioner really wanted to know does Arizona law provide for a private criminal complaint to be filed by a citizen when he or she has sufficent evidence to indicate probable cause that a misdemeanor or a felony has been committed? O

On 10/19/07
Kevin  said
I think the last questioner really wanted to know does Arizona law provide for a private criminal complaint to be filed by a citizen when he or she has sufficient evidence to indicate probable cause that a misdemeanor or a felony has been committed?

QUESTIONS

  • My ex-girlfirend attacked me with a crow bar and split open the back of my head and when I called the police they were trying to make it seem like I was the one who had done something wrong can I go to the police station on my own and file a report there? Also I wanted to know if I am able to go and make a report on my own will she be charged with anything?

STORIES

  • If you get a divorce, make sure your date of birth is on the Decree if your name is changing!. . .
  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .

LegalLEARN

FIND LEGAL HELP

  • Please select your county of residence below.

    County:
     

OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

ORGANIZATIONS