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Three men face allegations of assault in local robberies

As residents of Upper Marlboro may know, in a criminal case the prosecution always bears the burden of proving a suspect committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This can be a very difficult standard to meet.

Virginia officials have nabbed a third man in connection with local robberies of University of Virginia students. According to reports, three men robbed male and female students in the Venable neighborhood on November 16 of last year. In at least two of the instances, the victims were beaten by the alleged assailants.

The first suspect surrendered to police last year while the second suspect was arrested in Upper Marlboro in February. The final suspect was arrested last Friday and charged with robbery and assault by mob. The criminal defense to such an allegation will be unique to a traditional assault charge.

Authorities have the burden of proving that any accused suspect actually committed a crime. This requires a showing that the suspect actively engaged in each element of the alleged offense. For instance, an assault would require an offensive touching by the accused. Therefore, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect actually punched, kicked or in any other way offensively touched the victim.

In cases where multiple people were involved in an assault, however, it become more difficult to prove that any one individual was involved. As a result, the Maryland legislature has added the crime of assault by mob to make it easier on prosecutors to get a conviction.

Despite the legislative efforts to make criminal prosecutions easier, authorities must still prove that the suspect violated the law. Local Upper Marlboro criminal defense attorneys may be able to help their clients show that no criminal violation occurred. This can be vital in plea negotiations which greatly reduce penalties and allow suspects to get on with their lives.

Source: 1070 WINA, "Prince William Police Arrest Suspect in Local Robberies," April 7, 2014

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