Being charged with assault carries with it some serious consequences, so it’s imperative that your defend yourself against the charge. Depending on the severity of the charge, you could be looking at months or even years in prison, so you need to establish a credible defense. But how can you challenge an assault charge? Today, we take a look at four common defenses to an assault charge.
Fight an Assault Charge
Although we’re about to outline some ways to make your case, it’s important to note that the first thing you should do to protect yourself is to hire an attorney. They’ll be able to review your case and look for the best angle to challenge the charge.
Self-Defense – The most common way people defend themselves after an assault charge is by claiming they only assaulted the alleged victim out of self-defense. In order to prove that the other party was the aggressor, you must show:
- There was a threat of violence or unlawful force against you.
- There was a real, perceived threat of harm.
- There was no harm or provocation on your part.
- Depending on the situation, you may also have to prove that there wasn’t a reasonable way to exit the situation, like walking away or ignoring the other person.
Additionally, self-defense doesn’t give you a free pass to do whatever you want to the other person. For example, if someone punches you and you respond with a punch that knocks the other person unconscious, you aren’t free to continue to beat the person senseless after they’ve been rendered incapacitated.
Defense to Others – This defense is similar to self-defense, but in this scenario a person must have a perceived threat of harm to another individual. Again, this doesn’t give you free reign to beat a person senseless, and you must establish similar threats in order for your defense to hold water. For example, let’s say you hear arguing from the next room and witness your daughter get slapped by her boyfriend. You intervene and strike the deadbeat, and he later presses charges for assault. You’ll be able to challenge the charge by pursuing the “Defense to Others” defense.
Defense of Property – You may be able to challenge an assault claim by saying that you were defending your personally property. The key here is to use a reasonable amount of force to defend your property. As we saw in the Little Falls case, the homeowner used excessive force in defending his dwelling, and he was convicted of murder. That’s an extreme case, so we’ll use a more watered-down example. Let’s say you’re strolling around Nicolet Mall when out of the blue, someone snatches your purse or tries to pick your pocket. Instinctively you turn around and grabbed the perp’s collar as he tries to flee, and he trips and breaks his ankle. Believe it or not, the would-be thief may press assault charges, but an experienced attorney will be able to argue that your were reasonably defending your property.
You Had Consent – This defense is a little tougher to prove, because you are arguing that the victim gave you permission to commit the act. Generally this defense is more common during cases of sexual assault, but it does come up during assault and battery cases. We’ll throw out another example. Let’s say Billy is over at Sam’s house for a sleepover with a few friends. At some point, the teens get the idea that they want to box one another. Sam and Billy both voluntarily toss on the gloves, and after a few soft punches, Sam hits Billy and breaks his nose. Billy goes home the next day and tells his Mom what happened, and his Mom decides to press assault charges against Sam. Sam may be able to get the charges dropped because both teens willfully and voluntarily decided to put on the gloves. However, if Billy didn’t want to box, he was pressured into boxing knowing full well he’d lose, or Sam cheap-shotted him when he wasn’t looking, that’s a clear case of assault.
For more information on challenging an assault charge, contact us for a free consultation today.