Being charged with assault is a serious matter.
Depending on the severity of the alleged offence you could find yourself facing a large fine, or even long-term imprisonment.
Even if your assault charge is relatively minor, you could still find yourself with a lifelong criminal conviction if you are found guilty, which can affect your ability to find work and travel overseas.
If you are facing assault charges, it is essential that you find an experienced criminal lawyer who has a strong track record of successfully defending assault cases.
Whether or not you win your assault case will largely depend on the strength of your defence, so make sure you give yourself the best possible chance.
Common defences to assault charges
If your question is how can I win an assault case?
The answer is there are a number of potential defences to assault charges.
The main ones are self-defence, duress, lawful correction and necessity, but there are certain other factors that the judge or magistrate will take into consideration when deciding whether or not to convict you.
Self-defence is a commonly used defence in assault charges.
Self-defence doesn’t just cover protecting your person against harm from someone else, it can also mean protecting someone else, or protecting your personal property against unlawful deprivation by another person.
It can also cover protection against criminal trespass.
If you believe that the alleged assault was committed through taking reasonable measures to defend yourself or your property and state this in court, it is up to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this wasn’t the case.
Duress is used as a defence against assault charges in circumstances where you committed an act of assault because another person forced you to.
For duress to be successful as a defence, you need to have genuinely believed that your health or life was at risk, and your response needs to be considered reasonable to the circumstances and to what a reasonable person would believe.
Necessity is where an act of assault was committed as a reasonable response to an emergency situation. In order for necessity to be considered a valid defence, there needs to have been a sudden or unexpected circumstance or emergency, and your response needs to be considered reasonable under the circumstances and to be the only way to deal with the situation.
Lawful correction is applicable in circumstances where the assault charges relate to a parent and child, or a teacher and student.
If the actions of the parent or teacher are considered reasonable under the circumstances, excessive force wasn’t used and the reprimand wasn’t given to the face, lawful correction can be an effective defence.
Deciding on the defence for an assault charge is best done in consultation with an experienced lawyer.
In some cases, if you have a strong defence, your lawyer can write to the prosecution outlining your defence and request to have the charges against you withdrawn.
If the matter proceeds to a criminal hearing, your lawyer can help present your defence in court and give you the best chance of winning your assault case.