Once a Virginian is charged with a crime, they should start figuring out your defense strategy. The defenses available will depend on the type of crime charged. Defending against assault and battery charges can be challenging, and the defenses will change depending on the specific facts of the case. However, there are some possible criminal defenses available, assuming that the basic elements of assault/battery do in fact exist in the case.
One of the most common defenses used in assault and battery cases is self-defense. In order to establish this defense, the accused must show that there was a threat of unlawful force or harm against them. The accused also must have had a real perceived fear of harm to oneself. There also must be a reasonable basis for this fear. But, self defense requires that there was no harm or provocation on the part of the accused and no reasonable way to avoid the situation.
Even if the self-defense argument is valid in, the accused must remember that the amount of force used must have been reasonable given the circumstances. If the attacker was no match for the defender physically, the accused may still face an assault or battery conviction.
Other common defenses include the defense of others and defense of property. The defense of others differs from self defense, only in that the real perceived fear of harm is with another person, not oneself. The defense of property generally allows a person to use reasonable force to defend their property. Nonetheless, a person is not typically permitted to use force to retrieve personal property.
Reasonable force may be allowed if something is stolen directly from a person, as in with a pickpocket.
Self defense, defense of others and defense of property may all be used to prevent criminal conviction. Establishing these complex defenses in court can be challenging. If you are facing assault or battery charges, you may want to seek the assistance of an experienced professional.
Source: FindLaw.com, “Assault and Battery Defenses,” accessed on March 14, 2016