If you face assault charges, it’s important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Your attorney can help build a solid defense and potentially have the charges reduced or dismissed.
There are several defenses to assault including self-defense, defending property, duress, necessity, and aggravated assault. The penalties for a conviction can be severe. Learn more about assault charges defense.
When facing assault charges, it is important to understand that there are multiple possible defenses. Some of these include self-defense, defense of property, consent, lack of mental state, necessity, and duress. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you determine which defense is the best option for your case.
It is also essential to know that intent is a major component of assault charges and other crimes. The prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to commit a crime or cause injuries in order for a conviction. This is often a crucial element of the offense because it means that the defendant knew what they were doing was wrong.
However, for strict liability offenses such as Assault With Intent to Do Great Bodily Harm, a physical injury is not necessary to be charged. This offense simply requires that the person charged intends to cause an injury to the health or well-being of another person. This can include strangulation or suffocation, which is blocking breathing or circulation by placing pressure on the throat or neck or choking.
At common law, the defense of necessity, or lesser of two evils, allowed a defendant to avoid criminal charges if they demonstrated that they committed an illegal act because it was necessary to avert a significantly greater harm. This was a controversial doctrine and it is rarely available in modern criminal law.
The elements of this affirmative defense are similar to the duress defense outlined below. However, there are some important differences.
The most critical element is that the defendant must believe that the crime was the only way to prevent a significant harm or emergency. This must be a reasonable belief that is not in any way founded on coercion. The danger or emergency must threaten a significant threat of serious bodily injury, death, and/or severe financial loss that is not caused by the defendant. The defendant cannot be the source of this threat or have played any role in its origination. This is often referred to as the “innocent bystander” test.
The crime of coercion is a serious charge with severe penalties. A conviction can lead to jail time, fines, and a criminal record. It can also impact your immigration status, employment, and professional licensure. Therefore, it is crucial to seek legal help from a New York City criminal defense attorney immediately if you have been accused of this offense.
Coercion involves the use of force or threats to compel someone into doing something against their will. It can be a tricky defense because prosecutors often accuse people of coercion for actions that could have been done without using coercion.
For example, a 16-year-old boy might be charged with coercion if someone points a gun at him and tells him to steal alcohol or else they will shoot him. However, the boy might be able to use the defense of duress to prove that he was forced to do what he did because he believed his life was at risk.
The state must prove that the defendant’s actions triggered the victim to believe that they were in imminent danger of harmful or offensive contact. This is a much higher standard than that of actual physical harm because the victim must have been made to feel fear, rather than simply have a fright.
This can be difficult to disprove because people have different levels of what is considered a reasonable level of fear. It is important for your defense attorney to find any evidence that can show that the victim’s fear was unfounded, as this can result in a dismissal of assault charges.
Threatened battery assault is usually graded as a misdemeanor, while actually physically touching the victim would result in a felony. Some factors that can aggravate a battery charge include the use of a weapon, assaulting a police officer, firefighter, teacher, or judicial employee, and attacking someone with a disability. A conviction for assault can result in a jail sentence, hefty fines, and restitution payments.