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What are some assault and battery defense options?

When a resident of Virginia is accused of a violent crime, it is likely that he or she will want to take action to avoid the harsh penalties that a conviction could carry. Criminal charges for assault and battery could have serious consequences, impacting the personal and professional life of the accused. Therefore, it is important to understand what criminal defense strategies are available for these criminal allegations.

What are some defenses to assault and battery charges? The defenses available for these charges are dependent on the facts and circumstances surrounding the situation, because the circumstances are not always straightforward and could be very complex. However, under the basic elements of this type of charge, there are four major defenses that could be raised.

First, the accused could claim self-defense. This is the most common defense option and is valid when a defendant can show that there was a threat of unlawful force or harm against him or her. Also, he or she must have perceived a fear of harm and should not have provoked the altercation.

The second defense option is the defense of others. This is very similar to self-defense; however, the perceived fear of harm must be to another person. The third is the defense of property.

Finally, consent could be used as a defense option. While this depends on the jurisdiction, if an individual has voluntarily consented to a particular act, then it generally cannot be asserted that the act constituted an assault or battery. This does not apply to actions found to be harmful, even if they were consented to, that violate public policy.

While these defense options could be effective options, it is important to consider all defense options when accused of a violent crime. These can include denying that an incident was assault and battery. Consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney in Virginia could help a defendant develop a strong and effective criminal defense.

Source: FindLaw, "Assault and Battery Defenses", Accessed on Oct. 18, 2016

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