Staying Calm In Court

Two Options For Defending Yourself Against Assault Charges

Although assault is typically charged as a misdemeanor, being convicted of the crime can still mean jail time, fines, and other problems. To get the case off his or her desk, the prosecutor will likely offer a plea deal, but here are two defenses you can use that may help you avoid a conviction altogether.

Show the Threat Wasn't Credible

Assault is defined as a verbal or non-verbal threat that causes the recipient to fear he or she will be harmed in some way. For instance, if you point a gun at someone, you may be charged with assault even if you don't verbalize the threat because the person at the other end of the barrel would reasonably be afraid of getting shot.

One defense against assault charges is to show the threat wasn't credible, i.e. there was no way you could follow through and actually hurt the alleged victim. Going back to the previous example, if the gun in your hands was a toy and it was obvious the device couldn't harm the individual, then you likely would be found not guilty because there was no way you could follow through on whatever threat was being made.

Be aware, though, that the standard in an assault case like this would be whether a reasonable person would find the threat credible based on the circumstances. Pointing an unloaded gun at someone would still qualify as assault if the individual didn't know there was no ammunition in the firearm. If you show the person the gun isn't loaded before aiming it at the individual, then the threat of harm goes away as does the basis for the assault charge.

Show It Was Necessary

Another way to avoid being convicted of assault it to prove it was necessary for you to take the actions you did. This is typically the best way to go in situations where you were protecting yourself (self-defense), other people, or property. It appears someone is about to hit your child. Screaming that you will punch the person in the face if he or she harms your child would be justified because you are trying to prevent that person from hurting someone else.

To prevail with this defense, you must show you had a reasonable fear the other person would do harm to you, someone else, or your property. If the person didn't pose a credible threat, then you may still end up being convicted.

For help with an assault case, contact a criminal defense attorney like those at a business like Pollack & Ball LLC.