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Is self-defense your defense against assault charges?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2017 | Criminal charges

Criminal charges could affect anyone of any standing. Because unexpected situations catch people off guard every day, you could find yourself having assault charges leveled against you and wondering how you ended up in such a predicament. Unfortunately, a variety of circumstances could lead to such allegations, and in your case, you may simply have come across the wrong person or event at the wrong time.

Creating a defense

If an escalated incident has resulted in your facing charges, your first thought may go to defending against the allegations. This line of thinking may prove immensely useful to you as your case moves forward. In many cases, arguing that the situation was a matter of self-defense may help you avoid a conviction.

In order to present a meaningful argument for self-defense, you must prove several factors, including:

  • A threat of unlawful force against you
  • The fear that harm would come to you
  • A lack of provocation on your part
  • No reasonable chance of escape

For example, if an individual approached you and began yelling and presenting a threat of physical harm, such as raised fists and a menacing advancement, that situation likely caused you to feel fear. During such an encounter, if you hit the individual and attempted to get away as quickly as possible, you may have a strong self-defense argument.

On the other hand, if you participated in any escalation of the situation, such as insulting the individual or making verbal threats, and then the encounter turned physical, your self-defense argument may have less impact.

Additional factors

Furthermore, the court may examine your size, age and other physical attributes to determine whether the altercation warranted the force utilized.

In order for your defense presentation to have the necessary impact, you also need to consider other factors than just your testimony. If other individuals witnessed the event or the location had security cameras, you may have the ability to obtain witness statements or security footage to bolster your account.

Because many conditions of your case come under scrutiny when trying to defend against assault charges, you may wish to gain an advocate to help you through the process. An experienced New Jersey attorney could assist you in building and presenting your criminal defense in hopes of working toward the desired outcome. This type of assistance may allow you to gain information on tactics and avenues you may not have previously considered.