Assault and battery charges are some of the most common violent criminal offenses prosecutors bring to court in California. A variety of scenarios may lead to assault charges, and people sometimes feel overwhelmed by the worst-case scenario when facing such criminal accusations.
Prosecutors often bring the most severe charges they can, and people fear the penalties if they were to get convicted in court. They plead guilty in the hopes of minimizing the consequences that they face. However, there are defense strategies that can help those accused of assault and battery offenses in California avoid a criminal conviction.
What are two of the more common defense strategies?
Raise a reasonable doubt about your involvement
Do you have a potential alibi in the form of a selfie that you took far away from where the physical altercation occurred? Are there social media posts by the alleged victim that could raise questions about whether any attack occurred at all?
An individual accused of assault may choose to defend themselves by proving that they were not present or that the attack as described by the other party did not occur. Other tactics might include challenging or suppressing evidence to weaken the connection between the defendant and the criminal incident.
Reframe the situation as self-defense
Raising an affirmative defense is a common strategy for those accused of a violent crime like assault. If you can show that your actions were in response to the other person’s direct threat against you, for example, you could potentially avoid a criminal conviction.
Unlike in some states where a claim of self-defense could provide you with immunity from prosecution, the approach is different in California. You will often need to go to trial if you claim self-defense as the explanation for why you engaged in an act of physical force toward another person.
State law does extend the right to use force for the defense of one’s own person, other individuals and private property.
The same strategy won’t necessarily work in different situations, which is why reviewing the evidence against you and learning a bit more about state law can help. Mounting a proactive criminal defense is often better than pleading guilty for those accused of assault and battery offenses in California.