Finding out that you are facing criminal charges for assault and battery can be traumatic and nerve-wracking. However, it is important to remember that being accused of a violent crime is not the same thing as being convicted of one. In order to get a conviction, the prosecutor on your case has a legal obligation to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Fortunately for criminal defendants, it can very difficult for prosecutors to meet this high standard. With the right criminal defense strategy, you and your attorney can fight the assault and/or battery charges against you and find ways to protect you from serious criminal penalties.
In order to prove assault and/or battery, the prosecutor will be focused on proving that you harmfully or offensively touched another person with intent or acted in a threatening manner to make another person fear immediate harm. To disprove these elements, many defendants use the defense of self-defense.
In cases involving violence, the alleged perpetrator often acts out of fear for their own personal safety or fear for someone else’s personal safety. In order to establish self-defense, a defendant must show that they were facing a legitimate threat of unlawful force or harm. They must also show that they did not provoke or harm the other party on their own and that they had no way of retreating. Lastly, they must establish that they used a reasonable amount of force while acting in self-defense. For example, if you were slapped in the face, punching the person repeatedly or stabbing the person to defend yourself may be seen as excessive force and will not legally qualify as self-defense.
When acting in defense of property, a person can use reasonable force to defend their property, but if there is a dispute over personal property, a person may not legally use force to retrieve their item. The exception is if the personal property was stolen off the person directly, the person can use reasonable force to retrieve it.
Another defense used by those accused of assault and/or battery is the defense of consent. This defense works in cases where the alleged victim voluntarily consented to the reported assault or battery. However, this defense is uncommon and courts tend to say that even if the harm was consented to, it still violates public policy.
Defending against assault and battery charges can be difficult, but your attorney can help come up with the best strategy for you based on the circumstances of your case.