Criminal defense attorneys serve a critical role in the justice system. Usually, criminal defendants are presumed innocent by law until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction. Thus, defendants are entitled to a fair trial process and have the option of selecting a legal representative to protect their interests. Criminal defense attorneys understand the legal procedures involved at trial and thus, are best placed to represent clients and help them gain favorable outcomes. This is critical because criminal charges usually attract the heftiest punishments, including life imprisonment and the death sentence. Therefore, people facing assault and battery charges should always consult a competent criminal defense attorney for legal advice on beating the charges. Below are three defenses available to defendants charged with assault and battery:
The first defense available to defendants facing assault and battery charges is self-defense. The defense permits people to use any means, including deadly force, to reasonably fend off an attack or prevent the infliction of harm by an assailant. However, self-defense is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for people involved in violent activities because various conditions must be met. First, self-defense is only valid in cases of unprovoked attacks. The defendant invoking the self-defense argument must also demonstrate that they reasonably perceived themselves as under credible threat of imminent injury or death. People hoping to rely on self-defense should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney that understands the defense and its application in various state jurisdictions.
Defense of Others
Another defense available to assault and battery criminal defendants is the 'defense of others'. It allows people to exercise force and inflict harm on an assailant in defense of another person. Therefore, people that defend others from harm or serious injury usually do not incur legal liability, provided it's done within the law. For example, defendants that plead 'defense to others' must satisfy various conditions. Some conditions include proving the existence of a relationship between the defendant and the person they protected. Thus, assault and battery defendants should hire a competent criminal defense attorney that understands conditions limiting the application of defense of others.
Defense of Property
People charged with assault and battery can also rely on 'defense of property' to mitigate legal liability. The law permits people to use force in defense of their property. For instance, homeowners are legally allowed to use force against intruders and burglars that intend to break in. However, except in very limited circumstances, there is no justification for using deadly force when protecting property. Therefore, defendants should consult a competent criminal defense attorney for advice on the viability of these defenses before proceeding to trial.
For more information, contact a criminal defense attorney such as Elizabeth Franklin-Best, P.C.