Assault and battery charges can be stressful and confusing. You might be wondering, “Is there anything I can do to fight this?” The good news is, that there are legitimate defenses available, depending on the specifics of your situation. Let’s explore some common defenses to assault and battery charges.

What is Assault and Battery?

Assault and battery are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct legal definitions. Assault is the threat of imminent violence, while battery is the actual unwanted touching of another person. Both can result in criminal charges.

Understanding Legitimate Defenses

The good news is that there are defenses available to fight assault and battery charges. Here’s a breakdown of some common ones:

  • Self-Defense: This is a well-known defense. To claim self-defense, you must have been facing a threat of unlawful force and had a reasonable fear of imminent harm. You must also demonstrate that you used only reasonable force to defend yourself and had no other option to escape the situation.
  • Defense of Others: This defense applies when you use force to protect someone else from harm. Similar to self-defense, your actions must be reasonable and proportional to the threat.
  • Defense of Property: In some situations, you may use minimal force to protect your property from someone who is unlawfully trying to damage or steal it. However, you cannot use excessive force or injure someone in the process.
  • Lack of Intent: This defense argues that you did not intend to commit a crime.  For example, if you accidentally bump into someone in a crowded space, that wouldn’t be considered assault or battery.
  • Consent: If someone willingly agrees to physical contact, it cannot be considered battery. This applies to activities like boxing matches or sporting events where participants accept a certain level of physical contact.
  • False Accusation: Unfortunately, sometimes assault and battery charges are based on false accusations. This could be due to misunderstandings, spite, or revenge. If you have evidence to support your claim, like witness testimony or video footage, it can help build your defense.

The Burden of Proof in Assault and Battery Cases

It’s important to understand the concept of the burden of proof. In most criminal cases, including assault and battery, the prosecution has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high standard. The prosecutor must present evidence that convinces the jury you are guilty with near certainty.

However, with some defenses, the burden of proof might shift slightly. For instance, in self-defense cases, in some states, you may have a duty to retreat before using force. Oklahoma does not have a strict duty to retreat law. However, you may still need to show you were in reasonable fear of imminent harm and used reasonable force to stop the threat.

What to Do if Facing Charges

If you are facing assault and battery charges, here are some crucial steps:

  • Remain Silent: Don’t speak to the police without an attorney present.
  • Contact an Attorney: An experienced criminal defense lawyer can evaluate your case, explain your legal options, determine the best defense strategy, and fight for your rights. By understanding your legal rights and the potential defenses available, you can navigate this challenging situation with more confidence.
  • Gather Evidence: If you have any evidence supporting your case (witnesses, videos, etc.), provide it to your lawyer.

Building a Strong Defense

The best defense strategy depends on the specific facts of your case.  Here’s how a criminal defense attorney can help:

  • Investigate the Circumstances:  A thorough investigation can uncover details that weaken the prosecution’s case or support your defense.
  • Gather Evidence:  Police reports, witness testimonies, and other evidence can be vital in building a strong defense.
  • Negotiate with the Prosecutor:  Your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor for a reduced charge or dismissal, depending on the circumstances.
  • Represent You in Court:  If your case goes to trial, a skilled attorney will represent you effectively and protect your rights.
  • Fight for dismissal of charges: If the evidence is weak, your attorney might argue for dismissal of the charges altogether.

Don’t Face Assault and Battery Charges Alone

Being charged with assault and battery doesn’t have to be overwhelming. At Cannon & Associates, we have a team of experienced criminal defense attorneys who understand the complexities of Oklahoma assault and battery laws. We will be Your Fierce Advocates® and work tirelessly to build the most effective defense to get you the best possible outcome. Call us today at (405) 657-2323 or contact us for a free case strategy session.