When you are working with your attorney to prepare for an assault trial, you will probably go over possible defenses that you can use in court. Every court case is different, and your trial will have its own unique circumstances. But in an assault case, there are a few common defense arguments that you may wish to present.
Each argument has its strengths, and you and your attorney will have to decide which defense argument has the best chance of success for you. Many defendants have successfully fought their assault charges by using one or more of these defenses in court.
Perhaps the most common defense argument in assault trials is self-defense. Self-defense means that someone had no choice but to use physical force to protect themselves from harm. If you are claiming self-defense, you must be able to demonstrate to the court that you were being threatened with harm, that you did not provoke the attack and that you weren’t able to retreat or escape from the situation.
2. Defense of others
Another viable argument is defense of others. You may be able to avoid a conviction if you can show the court that you were compelled to use physical violence to protect other people. To use this defense, you will need to argue that you genuinely feared for the safety of another person and had no choice but to use force to protect them.
3. Defense of property
It may also be possible to argue that you were using reasonable force to defend your property, especially your home. This argument is less common than the previous two, but it has been used successfully in the past. While defense-of-property laws vary by state and jurisdiction, they are frequently applicable in cases of assault pertaining to home invasion, pickpocketing and purse-snatching.
In rare cases, some defendants may claim that their alleged victim consented to particular acts. This defense is mostly used in sexual assault cases. For example, if someone consented to a sexual encounter, then the act would not be considered an assault. But when using this defense, beware: The court subjects this defense to particularly close scrutiny and may still determine that a consensual act violated the law.