If you have been charged with assault and battery, you might be tempted to plead guilty, especially if it is easily proven that you did, indeed, injure or harm someone. However, you should not quickly or lightly make the decision to plead guilty or agree to a plea bargain. In most states, it is up to the prosecution to prove that you intentionally and criminally caused injury to another. While it may be evident that you did cause injury, your reasons for doing so may be protected by law and will, therefore, serve as your defense. Following are three ways you can prove your innocence.
No Intent To Harm and Consent Laws
As mentioned, you must intentionally harm someone for an assault and battery charge to stick. If you accidentally hit someone with a basketball or if you had no idea your actions would result in an injury, you might be able to prove that you did not intentionally harm anyone. You also cannot be held responsible for injuries that the complainant agreed to. For example, if the complainant agrees to participate in a test of strength with you, such as a boxing match or some sort of physical dare, you cannot be held liable.
Self Defense and Defense of Others
If you or others around you felt like they were in imminent danger when the altercation occurred, you might be able to use self defense as a defense. However, the force you use must be reasonable in the circumstances and correlate to the size and threat of the complainant. If you used excessive force on someone who is much smaller than you, it will be difficult proving self defense. Additionally, you must not have taken any part in the escalation of the physical altercation.
Defense of Personal Property
If your property was stolen, threatened or being withheld from you at the exact moment that the altercation occurred, you might be able to defend your actions by saying you were defending your property. This works well in cases of muggings where the victim uses physical force to fight for their belongings. However, you are not able to use this defense if the ownership of the property is in dispute.
As you can see, assault and battery cases are complicated. If you harmed someone using physical force, you are not necessarily guilty of committing assault and battery. Contact a qualified criminal defense attorney from a firm like Robert E Long & Associates Ltd to find out more ways you can defend your actions in a court of law.