Could LA Rams’ Bobby Wagner be charged criminally for “flattening” a protestor during a football game on national TV? What charges, if any, will the protester face?
What happened during the Monday Night Football Game and could it lead to criminal charges against Bobby Wagner?
Monday Night Football is a tradition that millions of National Football League (NFL) observe on a weekly basis during the season. Normally, our criminal defense law firm explains criminal charges which result following fan misconduct usually involving drinking and driving (DUI/DWI) or perhaps a fight that occurs in the Stadium or outside during the post-game celebration or pre-game tailgate. Recently, however, the potential criminal case developed from a player’s conduct even though the alleged victim in this potential case will likely face criminal charges for his conduct.
During this Monday Night game, millions watched a protestor, carrying a device letting out pink smoke, run onto the field during the game and Wagner, in full football uniform, delivered a shoulder block which easily took the fan to the ground. Security immediately took the man into custody. The fan has since filed a private criminal complaint which police are obligated to investigate.
Our criminal defense law firm does not practice in California but the laws in that state are very similar to Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It is highly unlikely that Wagner will face any criminal charges for simple or aggravated assault as the result of his actions. The fan, however, will likely face charges for criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct. In addition, authorities could possible charge him with causing or risk a catastrophe, a felony, as his actions could have created a mass evacuation if the substance (pink smoke) was thought to contain some harmful substance; this felony charge is unlikely.
What is Simple Assault?
One of the most common offenses that our law firm defends in New Jersey and Pennsylvania is assault. Assault is divided into simple and aggravated assault under 2C:12-1 in New Jersey. A simple assault is when a person attempts to cause or purposely knowingly or recklessly causes a bodily injury to another. A simple assault occurs also if a person negligently causes bodily person to another with a deadly weapon. Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense unless it is committed in a fight or a scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. In Pennsylvania, a simple assault (Title 18, Section 2701) is graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree unless it is a result of mutual scuffle, in which case it is misdemeanor of the third degree.
What is aggravated assault
Unlike a simple assault, an aggravated assault in New Jersey is an indictable crime. A person who is guilty of an aggravated assault after he or she causes or attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another. An aggravated assault is also cause if a person or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon. An aggravated assault in New Jersey is a crime of the second degree if the Court finds that a person caused serious bodily injury. It is a crime of the third degree if a person attempts to cause only bodily injury with a deadly weapon. A deadly weapon can be practically anything in New Jersey, just like Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania, similar to New Jersey, classifies aggravated assault (Title 18, Section 2702) based on the circumstances surrounding the incident; it’s a felony grade crime in the Commonwealth
Here, it is clear that Wagner intended to strike or hit the trespassing fan. Despite this conduct, however, the law will also look at his intent. It is clear from his actions that Wagner was attempting to stop the fan from escaping police and possibly harming players, staff or other fans in the arena. He therefore has a very strong argument for self defense.
What is Self Defense (protection of others) ( Justification)
The counter defense argument to an assault of any kind is self defense, specifically the defense of others. Self defense is often a misunderstood concept in criminal defense in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It is, however, one of the most utilized arguments against aggravated and simple assault allegations.
Self-defense is often called “justification.” If the defendant’s actions were “justified,” he or she CAN NOT be found find guilty of a crime such aggravated assault (felony) or simple assault (misdemeanor).
While the burden is on the prosecution during a criminal trial, the defense is required to assert a self defense argument before the prosecution is required to address it. It’s important to understand that the Prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant didn’t actually believe that he was in danger of death or serious bodily injury. In the alternative, the prosecution can also meet its burden of proof if it shows, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this belief was unreasonable in light of all the circumstances known to the defendant.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in PA & NJ
Please click here to contact our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers. We offer free case reviews and serve the following areas in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Atlantic City, Camden, Cherry Hill, Chester, Conshohocken, Doylestown, Media, Norristown, Philadelphia, Pottstown, Salem, Upper Darby, Upper Merion, Upper Providence, Vineland & Woodbury areas.