Few people go out for a night of fun or spend time with friends with the intention of committing assault. Even fewer people expect to be wrongfully accused of assault. Unfortunately, these incidents can happen quickly, leaving you confused and unsure of what to do.

Assault is a serious issue, and understanding the charges levied against you is key to building an adequate defense. While you certainly can find possible defenses against these charges, facing a misdemeanor or felony assault charge can leave you with more questions than answers. Here are a few questions you may have.

What Is Assault?

California considers assault to be a willful action with the intent to cause harm, even if no harm or contact occurs. In many cases, assault is involved in domestic situations. In other cases, you could be charged after an altercation (like a drunken bar fight or a dispute following an accident). More serious charges result when weapons and battery are part of the mix.

What Are Possible Defenses Against Assault Charges?

One of the most common defenses against assault charges is the self-defense claim. In order to use this defense, you must be able to demonstrate that you believed you were in danger. You were unlawfully harmed or touched, and you believed that you needed to use force. The force you use must be adequate to defend yourself but not excessive. For instance, self-defense could be used if you were being repeatedly punched by somebody.

You could also claim that you were defending another person against danger by the same standards. For instance, if you saw somebody being kidnapped or mugged, then you could defend yourself in court by stating that you were using force to help this person.

In some cases, you may be able to claim that you were defending your property. Keep in mind that this defense may only apply to situations in which items on your person (like your purse or a wallet in your pocket) are being taken.

Another possible defense is that you had no intention of harming somebody else. Perhaps you were on a dance floor enjoying yourself an accidentally swung your arm into another person's face. This action has no intention or will behind it, even if an injury was the result.

If you have medical evidence on your side, you might also be able to claim that you are physically unable to perform the violent acts you are accused of. After all, the prosecutor is required to present evidence that meets the burden of proof.

Finally, you always have the false accusation defense on your side. Perhaps you have a solid alibi that you were elsewhere or the victim is mistaken about the identity of the person who assaulted them. In either case, you are not the perpetrator.

What Can't Be a Defense Against Assault Charges?

Unfortunately, not every defense stands against an assault charge. For instance, you cannot use provocation as a legal defense. Even if somebody taunted you, the law might still be on their side. The same applies to being intoxicated. Even drunk, you are still legally responsible for your actions.

What Should You Do If You Face Assault Charges?

When the court charges you with assault, you have options. Your first step should be to hire a criminal defense attorney who can help you fight charges of assault.

Not only will an attorney understand which defense best suits your case, but they also understand how to meet deadlines, find witnesses, and prepare an adequate case to support you. Even if you are pleading guilty, your attorney helps you reach the best outcome.

Blomberg, Benson & Garrett Inc. is here to guide you as you face criminal charges. Not sure what to do next? Contact us today; we have answers.