Assault charges are usually filed against an individual when someone feels threatened by them, or if someone believed that the person was going to hit them. Assault charges are accompanied with battery most of the times. Battery refers to the fact that the defendant actually hit the plaintiff.
Another situation leading to assault charges arises when the defendant tries to hit the plaintiff but actually never succeeds in the act. The only thing that is required for an individual to be guilty of assault is the intention of harming another. The defenses used by someone being charged with assault fall into two categories:
- Arguing that the offense was not committed by the defendant
- Arguing that the offense was committed but was done for a moral reason
Defense against Assault Charges
The following steps need to be taken in order to defend against assault charges:
Analyzing the Charges – In order to defend one, the defendant is required to know the elements of the offense which can be helpful in knowing what the prosecution will try to demonstrate. The defendant should also remember the incident from his own perspective as there are chances that the incident is exaggerated by the plaintiff party. To demonstrate the lack of intent and fault of the defendant, help can be taken from witnesses, especially if the defendant had friends at the time of the incident. They can testify on behalf of the defendant. There is also a need to find out why charges were filed. The motivation of the supposed victim should be analyzed and understood to strengthen defense against the charges.
Preparing Defenses – The defendant should understand that the plaintiff is required to prove guilt of the defendant more than reasonable doubt, which is not only difficult but also holds a high standard. On the other hand, the defendant is not required to demonstrate if they took any action.
In cases where the defendant is charged of assault without battery, it is easier to prove innocence because no actual harm was brought to the plaintiff.
It is very important to hire an attorney when someone is charged with a criminal offense. If someone is incapable of affording an attorney, court appoints one for them.
The next thing to do is to get all the statements and documents against them from the prosecutor. The defendant should not only get all the evidence against them, but can also find areas that can be doubted. The defendant holds the right to see all the evidence against them.
The defendant should stay out of trouble while he awaits his trial. If an individual gets arrested during his trail, it would be used against them and may weaken the case.
Going to Trial
The defendant should appear at all the court dates on time. He should be neatly dressed and appear as calm and peaceful as possible. Soft-spoken people usually get out of assault charges relatively easily. The prosecution’s witnesses should be listened to peacefully without any interruption. The defendant has the right to present witnesses on his behalf and can also testify for himself. The story of the incident may be told by the defendant from his own point of view. The defendant can take an oath denying any intention he had to harm the plaintiff. If any questions are asked by the prosecutor, the defendant should give short and precise answers.
At the end of the trail, when the case goes to the jury for a final verdict, the defendant should remain unruffled. Even if the verdict is against the defendant, it’s important not to panic and stay peaceful. The defendant may talk to his lawyer about filing an appeal later.
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