Common Defenses In Criminal Assault Cases

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Common Defenses In Criminal Assault Cases

15 October 2020
 Categories: , Blog

When an assault lawyer thinks about the potential defenses for a client, there are typically two ways to approach the issue. First, they might deny that anything happened or that the client was involved in whatever did happen. Second, a criminal assault lawyer may argue that the client was within their rights due to a threatening situation. Let's look at how these common defenses are meant to work and whether they might apply to your situation.

Nothing Happened

This is arguably the most basic defense. Notably, an assault lawyer will try to avoid moving forward with this defense until they know as much about what happened as possible. The reason for that tentativeness is that the argument that nothing happened is frequently considered an affirmative defense.

When someone asserts an affirmative defense like this, they risk evidence coming to light that shows that an incident did occur. Also, you may have to present evidence showing where you were at the time or that nothing occurred since the prosecution will introduce a defense that may show you were.

It's best to avoid this kind of defense unless you're 100% that nothing happened that could remotely be construed as an assault. However, it does represent one of the more straightforward defenses if you're certain.

No Involvement

A defendant can also assert that something did happen, but they didn't have any part in it. You might have been in the vicinity of a fistfight, for example. This is still often an affirmative defense, but the difference is an assault lawyer isn't contesting what happened. Instead, the defense is saying the perpetrator wasn't the client.

This defense is often useful if the evidence is fairly limited. For example, there is a video, but it is grainy and doesn't clearly identify anyone.

Similarly, this defense can be useful if you believe witnesses or even cops mistook you for someone else. Perhaps a person who was dressed like you had committed the assault in question.


In a self-defense case, the main argument is that you did do what you were accused of doing, but your actions were legal. Self-defense claims are often influenced by state laws. Some states require people to make reasonable efforts to disengage from violent situations, while others only require people to not make things worse. Bear in mind that even a few antagonistic statements or actions made at the time of the incident may undermine a self-defense claim.

If you're considering hiring an assault lawyer, the best way to get started is to contact your local experts. From there, try setting up an appointment to go over the strategies that you might be able to use together.