Former 49ers and Raiders offensive lineman Kwame Harris has been charged and has pled not guilty to one count each of domestic violence and assault causing great bodily injury and could face up to nine years in prison if convicted. Harris was accused of beating up an ex-boyfriend in the parking lot of a Menlo Park restaurant after an argument sparked by soy sauce. The 30-year-old former NFL player is claiming self-defense.
“Domestic violence” means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.
When law enforcement officers are called on in response to a domestic violence assault or battery claim in Jacksonville, and the officer has probable cause to believe that two or more persons have committed a misdemeanor or felony, or if two or more persons make complaints to the officer, the officer shall try to determine who was the primary aggressor. Under Florida law, arresting the primary aggressor is the preferred response, and arresting a person who acts in a reasonable manner to protect or defend oneself or another family or household member from domestic violence is not the preferred response.
The “primary aggressor” will be going to jail and will be held until First Appearance. Many times one party will lie or embellish the story in order to have the other party arrested. Other times, one party will leave out the fact that they hit the other party first. Other times, police will assume that because the assumed victim has more bruises, that they are not the primary aggressor. Many forget bruising is subjective, leaving many to think that the harm caused was much more severe than in actuality. As result, the wrong person is determined as the “primary aggressor” and charged with domestic violence assault or domestic violence battery.
In this case, Harris’ attorney claims Geier punched Harris first, but because Geier’s injuries were worse, prosecutors elected to charge Harris over the violence, leaving Geier with no charges for the fight. Many times, this very situation is seen in the courtroom and in law offices all over Jacksonville.
The method for determining who the primary aggressor is in a domestic violence case has many holes in it. For example, a male and female have an argument in the house that they occupy together. The female throws three punches that the male does not respond to. Eventually the male retaliates, by yelling, and slamming the door in the female’s face, which bludgeons the female’s head, causing major injury. The male has taken the punches, but exhibits no major outward injury. The police arrive 15-20 minutes later to a busted, bloody door and bloody-faced female. Who was the actual primary aggressor? In the eyes of the police, probably the male, who will be arrested and will sit in jail until First Appearance.
Remember, even though domestic violence cases are often the result of false accusations by angry partners, one should obtain an experienced attorney to protect one’s rights and help one follow the right path in one’s case. Without an attorney, one might waive a worthy defense and plead guilty, thinking cooperation will be rewarded. However, one’s reward will often be mandatory jail time and anger management counseling, and permanent criminal record that cannot be sealed or expunged.
One in a situation like this should immediately obtain an experienced Jacksonville aggravated assault crimes defense attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights and defenses are known and protected. One should not waste time when the solution to one’s predicament is out there waiting.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Sources: Ex-49er, Raider Kwame Harris charged with beating former boyfriend, attorneys say, Joshua Melvin, San Mateo County Times