Assault allegations can quickly derail your future. You could face the real possibility of incarceration and damage to your reputation, and you may be dealt other ramifications such as a protective order and loss of employment.
As frightening as that may sound, you should realize that you have very real criminal defense options at your disposal. In fact, when it comes to assault charges, there are four possible defenses that could allow you to escape the harshest of penalties or avoid conviction altogether. Here are those defenses:
- The allegations are false: A lot of assault cases are he-said, she-said situations where the outcome of the case hinges on the credibility of the witnesses. Therefore, make sure that you do your homework on the prosecution’s witnesses so that you know how to attack their credibility. Also, try to find as much evidence as you can to support your side of the story and discredit the other side’s account of events.
- There was no harm or imminent threat of harm: In order to obtain an assault conviction, the prosecution has to prove certain elements, including that harm resulted or there was an imminent threat of harm. The mere exchange of heated words and minor brush ups are insufficient for an assault conviction. So, consider the facts of your case and how you can best minimize the acts in question.
- There was no intent: The prosecution also has to show that you intended to cause harm or threaten imminent harm. If you can show that any harm that occurred was accidental, then you can prove that you lacked the requisite mental state that the prosecution must show for a conviction.
- Self-defense: If you were defending yourself or another person at the time of the alleged assault, then you can claim self-defense to try to avoid conviction. Keep in mind, though, that you’ll have to demonstrate that you acted reasonably to defend yourself from imminent harm and that your response was appropriate in light of the type of harm that otherwise would have befallen you. Also, you can’t raise a self-defense argument if you were the initial aggressor.
Fully exploit your criminal defense options
Those who face assault allegations oftentimes find themselves feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, especially when the evidence seems stacked against them. But there very well may be legal defenses that can assist you in attacking the prosecution’s case. To learn more about those options and how they may apply to your case, consider discussing your situation with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has a track record of success.