Assault sounds like a serious crime, and the way it is penalized in Illinois, it’s clear that the court feels the same way. And while some assaults can be significant and cause a good deal of physical damage, you may be surprised to learn that you can be charged and convicted of assault without ever touching another person. Because assault carries serious potential penalties, and because of the low threshold it takes to be charged with the crime, it’s imperative that you know some of the best ways to defend yourself against an assault charge. We spotlight some of the more common defenses in today’s blog.
Defenses To The Crime Of Assault
If you are charged with simple, aggravated or felony assault, it’s imperative that you contact a defense lawyer to learn about your options. Considering what’s on the line, it’s often best to hire a firm to represent you at trial. Here’s a look at some of the avenues your lawyer might pursue when working to get your assault charge dismissed.
- Self Defense – Arguably the most common defense to an assault charge is the claim of self defense. If the only reason you acted aggressively was to protect yourself from an imminent threat, you should be able to get the assault charge dropped. When there is conflicting testimony (which is almost guaranteed during an assault or altercation), it can be difficult to sort out who the aggressor was when the police arrive. They may initially charge you with assault, but if you can showcase that you were just defending yourself from the other party, you should be able to win the case.
- Lying – We’ve handled assault cases where lying was taken to an extreme level, like the alleged incident never occurred in the first place, or the victim self-harmed and then blamed an ex-boyfriend, but more commonly we see cases where the truth is embellished a little. For example, if you and your spouse get in an argument and you say “I wish you weren’t around!” but your wife interprets that as a threat on her life and tells the cops that what you said made her fear for her life, you could end up facing assault charges over a misconstrued or embellished statement. We can help prove that your language does not amount to a level of assault.
- Defending Others – Similar to self defense, you may be able to get the charges dropped if you can prove that you only acted in such a manner to prevent a threat to others. Now, it’s unlikely you’d face assault charges for suckerpunching a robber holding up a liquor store, but if you witnessed a bar fight and you used physical force to subdue one of the aggressors, you should be able to get the charges dropped. You need to prove that you feared for the safety of others, and that you had no choice but to use physical force to protect them.
- Consent – Finally, if you can prove that consent was given for the conduct, you can get the assault charges dropped. This isn’t all that common of a defense, but when it does arise, it typically involves assaults of a sexual nature. This can be a tricky defense to pull off since it will likely come down to a he said, she said version of events, so if you’re ever concerned about how consent might be interpreted, consider getting written consent if possible to help strengthen your claim.
If you are facing assault charges because of a verbal or physical altercation with another individual, don’t just hope your testimony curries leniency from the judge. Consult an assault and battery lawyer and put up a strong defense. For more information, or to set up a free strategy session for your criminal case, reach out to Brett and the team at Appelman Law today.