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Wrongly accused of assault: What are my defenses?

The circumstances surrounding an alleged battery or assault can be very complex and therefore, many facts can be contested. You may have been accused of assault and you think it was mistaken identity, or you may have been involved in an altercation that you do not think was a criminal offense. Perhaps you were protecting yourself.

This blog will provide a brief overview into some of the most successful defenses to be used when a person has been accused of battery or assault.

Self-defense

Arguing that your involvement in the altercation was purely one of self-defense is one of the most common defenses used. In order to be successful arguing this defense, you must be able to show that there was a genuine threat of harm, and that you were legitimately fearful for your safety because of this threat. You must also show that you did not provoke any form of threat, and that you had no other option; for example, you did not have the chance to flee the scene.

Defense of property

If you were acting to prevent your property from being invaded, some acts are permissible, and you can claim this defense successfully. However, states define what amount of force is reasonable as a defense of property, and it is always taken into account the amount of danger you were in yourself.

Consent

In some cases, a person may have volunteered him or herself or consented to engaging in a particular act. This defense can lessen the charge; however, some actions, even if consented to, can be punishable regardless.

Source: Findlaw, "Assault and battery defences," accessed Aug. 30, 2017

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