Below, a criminal defense attorney in Arlington discusses how defenses can be built against simple assault charges in Arlington, VA. If you have been accused of any assault-related charge call today and schedule a consultation to discuss your case with a simple assault lawyer in Arlington.
There are always defenses to every case and mitigating factors in every case. But it depends on the case. A typical defense to assault is to show that words alone can never constitute assault. So without any other actions, and within some limits, you can essentially say anything you want to another person and not be guilty of assault. There may be other charges that fit, such as “curse and abuse”, but as far as assault, you cannot be charged with that.
As far assault and battery, obviously self-defense is a common defense for that charge. There are very specific requirements in Virginia in order to be able to make a self defense claim, but it can be and often is, successfully implemented.
Another way to attack a charge of assault and battery or an assault is to show that the victim is either biased and lying or mistaken as to their memory of the offense. Defense attorneys will look at the motives of the complaining witness to show that they can’t be trusted. Maybe they lied to police because they were the aggressor. Maybe there is a financial stake. Maybe there is an ongoing child custody issue and getting the other party convicted of a crime would help their case.
Or maybe they were either mistaken or don’t remember what happened and they filled in the blanks by claiming the other party assaulted them. Alcohol is typically a factor in assault and battery cases, so maybe the victim was intoxicated to the point of not accurately remembering what happened.
It really depends on the case, there are tons of defenses to assault and battery and it is very case-specific. But those are some of the more common defenses put forward.
The best way to refute charges against a client is to produce evidence to show that it did not happen in the manner that the victim or the police said. Then the burden is on the prosecution to prove their case, and the defendant doesn’t have to produce evidence of their innocence. But if you have evidence of that type you most certainly use it to refute the prosecutor’s case.
The best way to do that is to have an independent witness who can testify that no assault took place or that the assault did take place but was legally justifiable. And by “independent” I mean someone who doesn’t know the parties involved in the assault or doesn’t care. A passerby who happened to get dragged into observing something they had no intention of observing.
A video that shows that the assault did not occur as the victim said it did is great evidence to refute a charge. So getting that video tape from the store or restaurant where the incident occurred, or maybe even from a nearby building can be extremely helpful to the attorney who’s representing someone charged with assault to help refute the prosecutor’s claims.
Interestingly in assault and battery, the victim’s prior conduct for aggressive or assaultive behavior can be used to the benefit of the defendant to show that he or she was acting in self defense.
So there are a lot of ways that an assault attorney can help refute the Commonwealth’s evidence.