Depending on the circumstances, there is a wide variety of defense strategies for assault and battery cases. First, let us define these two types of charges:
- Assault is defined as the attempt to harm or injure another person, and in some cases can also involve the issuance of threats or doing threatening behavior towards others.
- Battery is defined as the intentional harmful or offensive touching that one does to another person without the latter’s consent
If the basic elements of the case are established (as an example, it was not a case of mistaken identity), then there are still defense strategies employed by lawyers to defend against such cases:
This is perhaps the most commonly used strategy by defense teams in assault and battery cases. The following need to be proven in order to show that the act was committed to defend one’s self:
- The presence of a threat or harm towards the defendant
- There is a real and honest feeling of fear about the possibility of being harmed
- There was no provocation coming from the defendant’s part
- There was no chance that the defendant could have escaped the situation
Here are two examples to demonstrate this concept:
- Example A: John is approached by a larger, imposing man named James. James, for no apparent reason, begins to threaten and put up his fists as if preparing to punch. John feels terrified and as a result, hits James at the best opportunity he sees. He flees the scene in order to avoid James.
- Example B: John is approached by James who suddenly shouts at him. However, John retaliates by insulting James, and as a result, James hits John. John fights back however, and then leaves James on the ground.
In example A, it is rather easy to establish that John only hit James because of self-defense. However, this is not the case in example B. Because John provoked James to hit him, it shows that he was also partly responsible for the brawl and may not be able to use the self-defense excuse.
Defense of others
The elements are similar to self-defense, except that the defendant felt a genuine fear for the safety of others, causing the behavior.
Defense of property
A defendant may also say that he or she acted as such in order to defend his or her property that is illegally being invaded or withheld. However, note that this defense strategy only applies on certain states – it is best to consult with your lawyer to see if this applies to your area.
Again, this varies per state, so best to check with your lawyer as well. If it can be established that the act was done with the consent of the plaintiff, then it may weaken the case overall. The scope of the consent will also have to be considered – if the victim allows that he or she be punched in the face, but ends up being beaten all over, then this defense may not work at all.
The criminal defense lawyers of The Kyle Law Firm are well-versed in maneuvering assault and battery cases. If you are in need of a reliable and reputable lawyer, contact us today.