A Helena man is accused of assaulting a partner or family member in a car.

Darrell Dwayne Smith, 36, is being charged with his fourth partner or family member assault offense, making it a felony, and one misdemeanor count of stalking.

The victim told authorities she was sitting in a vehicle in the 3100 block of North Montana Avenue on Dec. 9 when Smith grabbed her by the hair and pulled her toward him. She said he hit her in the face as she clawed at his face and struggled to get away, court documents say. 

She said Smith opened the passenger door as she was struggling to get away, and she drove off with the door open. 

The victim showed investigators information stating she wanted no contact with Smith and told Smith to leave her alone, according to court documents.

Smith told an officer he was attacked first and held the person to avoid being assaulted. 

The officer arrested Smith under the predominant aggressor rule because he is physically bigger and stronger than the other person; because he has three prior arrests and multiple convictions of partner or family member assault, and she has none; and because the other person displayed fear of Smith, and he displayed no fear of her.

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Reporter at the Helena Independent Record.

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