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Legal Defenses Against Assault and Battery Charges

Posted on in Criminal Law
Legal Defenses Against Assault and Battery ChargesA conviction on assault or battery charges can cause serious consequences for an offender in Illinois. Simple assault or battery is a misdemeanor, but some aggravated offenses lead to felony charges. According to Illinois law, battery occurs when an offender causes unwanted physical contact with a victim, while assault occurs when the victim believes that the offender is threatening physical harm. Either charge can become aggravated if:

  • A weapon is used;
  • The offender is concealing his or her identity;
  • The victim is a police officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, senior citizen or person with a disability; or
  • In instances of battery, the victim is injured.

If you have been charged, it is the prosecution's responsibility to prove that you intentionally or knowingly committed the offense. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, there are several arguments you can use to bolster your defense against assault or battery charges.

Self-Defense

In cases of assault or battery, the defendant's most common argument is that he or she acted in self-defense. You may be justified in using or threatening force against someone if you can prove:

  • The other party was threatening you, another person or your home;
  • You did not provoke the other party into making the threat;
  • You could not avoid the confrontation; and
  • Taking verbal or physical action was your only means of protection.

Claiming self-defense may not prevent your conviction if your response was unreasonable. Prosecutors may argue that the other party was not a credible threat or that you used excessive force.

Unreasonable Reaction

If charged with assault, you can challenge the premise that you threatened the other party. Your accuser may believe that there was imminent danger, but he or she may have overreacted to the situation. If you can prove that a reasonable person would not have felt threatened by your actions, it may show that your actions were not assault.

Consent

Arguing that the other party consented to your actions is most often used in sexual assault cases. However, it may apply to some battery cases. For instance, there is presumed physical contact in some sports. You may argue that your actions did not exceed the amount of physical contact that the other party should have expected from voluntarily participating in the sport.

Legal Defense

An experienced McHenry County criminal defense lawyer knows the arguments that can successfully defend you against assault or battery charges. Call Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC at 815-338-3838 for a free consultation.

Source:

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/CircuitCourt/CriminalJuryInstructions/CRIM%2011.00.pdf

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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