When a person is charged with assault, it is not uncommon for a battery charge to also be attached. Under state law, assault is a non-physical act of threatening someone so that they fear for their safety. Battery is the actual act of violence the perpetrator uses against the victim. A person can be charged with assault if they threaten a victim, whether blatantly or an implied threat, even if the physical harm never actually took place.

A criminal defense attorney, such as a criminal defense attorney in Rockville, MD, can help defend against assault and/or battery charges if you have been charged. The following is a brief overview of defending against these charges. For more detailed help, contact our firm today.

Intent of Assault
In order to prove assault, the prosecutor must prove that the accused intentionally behaved in such a way that the victim had a reasonable belief that they were at immediate risk of harm. There must be evidence of this intent, such as physical gestures and/or language. A criminal defense attorney can dispute that evidence by showing:

  • The accused’s behavior was misinterpreted by the victim.
  • The accused’s behavior was unintentional.
  • The victim’s belief that the accused acted in a threatening way was unreasonable. For example, some people have irrational fear towards people based on their appearance.
  • Any alleged threats should not have caused the victim to believe they were in immediate danger.

If an accused person actually committed the assault, a criminal defense attorney can still build a defense against those charges. For example, if the accused was acting in self-defense, that could be enough to get the assault charges dropped because stopping an imminent battery is an affirmative defense. The attorney would have to prove that:

  • The alleged victim was an immediate threat of violence to the accused or to another person.
  • The actions by the accused went only far enough as was necessary to stop that imminent danger. If the accused continued to assault the alleged victim once there was no longer danger, then the self-defense defense would likely be ignored by the court.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
It is easier to defend against an assault charge than to defend against a battery charge because there is no physical harm involved. The police or prosecutor must prove that the accused had intent to harm the victim. If you have been accused or arrested for assault, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney who clients trust. 

Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into fighting against assault or battery charges.