At the New York-based Spodek Law Group, we understand how challenging it can be for our clients who are accused of assault and battery. In New York City, assault and battery carries heavy fines and years of imprisonment. Thankfully, there are a wide array of defenses that can be used in assault and battery cases depending on the circumstances.
The circumstances surrounding assault and battery case are varied. In the following examples of assault and battery case defenses, we are going to assume the following things. First, we will assume that this is not a case of mistaken identity and no other fundamental error was made. Next, we are going to assume that the elements of assault and battery do exist in this case. Based on these assumptions, the following is a few of the ways that our law firm can help defend you.
Self-defense is the most widely used defense in an assault and battery case. The criteria required to show that a person acted in self-defense includes the following:
- A threat of force or any harm of an unlawful nature against the defendant
- There must be an honest, truthful perception of fear of harm to the defendant
- The defendant must have done nothing to provoke the situation, and they must have caused no harm
- It must be shown that the defendant did not have a reasonable chance to flee from the situation or escape the situation that led to the assault
An example of self-defense would be if Sally was confronted by Eric, a large and intimidating stranger who starts to yell at her, threatens to hurt her, and makes a move towards her with his fist in the air in a threatening manner. Sally, out of fear for her safety, attacks Eric and then leaves the area through the nearest available exit at the first available opportunity. In this circumstance, Sally may be able to claim that she attacked Eric in self-defense.
While self-defense is an effective defense to use in court, a defendant must realize that self-defense does have some limitations. For example, the force that a person uses to defend themselves must be commensurate to the threat posed. Additionally, even if all of the above-mentioned criteria were met, a person may still be charged with assault and battery if the person they attacked, in self-defense, was no match for them physically. For example, it would be difficult for a grown man to claim self-defense if they struck a 12-year-old girl.
A second defense that can be made in an assault and battery charge is that of the defense of others. The guidelines for claiming defense of others in court are very similar to those that are used for claiming self-defense. The only difference is the defendant must be able to prove that they acted because they perceived a real and imminent threat to another person that caused them to act.
Defense of Property
There are some gray areas when it comes to using force to defend property. A person who is accused of assault and battery may be able to claim that they acted to defend their property either from being invaded in the case of a home invasion, or being legally withheld as in the case of having items stole by a pickpocket. However, the law limits the amount of force that can be used in a particular situation, and it does not always recognize the use of force when defending personal property is involved.
Consent is another defense that can be used in charges of assault and battery. If an individual volunteers to engage in an act, that act could not be considered assault and battery. For example, two boxers who agree to fight each other could not then turn around and accuse each other of assault and battery as long as the fight took place within the guidelines laid out by the law. Often times, consent is used as a defense in connection with sexual assault cases.
It is clear to see that an accusation of assault and battery is very complicated. The best defense is going to require intensive investigation and fact gathering. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Spodek Law Group understand the complexities associated with assault and battery defenses and have the experience, the know-how, and the manpower to gather necessary information, analyze this information, and create an appropriate defense.