Available defenses in assault cases may vary depending on the circumstances and facts of an individual case. However, under the basic assumption that the elements of an assault or battery exist, the following guide lists some potential defenses to charges as well as some helpful examples.
This is the most commonly used defense in assault cases. To establish it, a client and his or her criminal law attorney in Kutztown PA must show:
- An imminent threat of harm or unlawful force
- A real fear of harm and a reasonable basis for that fear
- No provocation or harm on the victim’s part
- That there was no way to escape or retreat from the situation
The self-defense doctrine has numerous limitations along with those listed here. Just because someone defends themselves doesn’t mean they can use unlimited force. The level of force used to defend oneself must be proportionate to the threat posed by the other party. Furthermore, even if the above elements are fulfilled, a person defending themselves may still be held liable if they and the aggressor were unevenly matched.
In the Defense of Other People
This defense is similar to that described above, with the main difference being that the actor must have a real fear of harm to another party. The limitations applicable to self-defense apply here as well, and the actor must have had a reasonable basis for their fear to successfully use this defense.
Defendants in assault and battery cases sometimes claim that they acted to defend their property from invasion or illegal withholding. It’s crucial to note that the extent and availability of the defense varies by jurisdiction. The defense typically allows a person to use a reasonable level of force when defending their property. While force may not be used to retrieve personal property, that which is directly stolen from a person may be recovered by force.
Get Help With Assault and Battery Defenses
As shown, if a person is facing assault and battery charges, there are a few available defenses that depend on the case’s facts. It’s the job of a Criminal Law Attorney in Kutztown PA to find the evidence needed to build a case in the client’s favor. Click here to learn more or call today to request a no-obligation consultation.