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Assault and Battery, Part II - defending against the charges

In Part I of this series we took a look at the difference between two criminal charges that are often lumped together - assault and battery. As we pointed out, although these two charges are sometimes thought of as one and the same, they are actually quite different, even though both are serious charges. In Part II of this series, we will take a look at how Fresno residents can go about putting together a criminal defense strategy if they are unfortunate enough to be facing one of these charges.

First and foremost, intent is a huge part of assault and battery charges. Often worded as "knowing and voluntary," for a prosecution effort on either of these charges to be successful, it is generally a crucial part of the case for the prosecutor to be able to prove that the alleged perpetrator carried out the act of assault or battery in such a way that the perpetrator knew what he was doing. So, a potential defense to these charges would be to show that the defendant did not in fact intend to hurt or threaten the alleged victim, or that the defendant did not do so voluntarily.

Self-defense is probably the most commonly used defense against a charge of assault or battery. In the right circumstances everyone has a right to defend themselves, and this can include defending in such a way that another person is injured. For this defense to be successful it is usually crucial to show that the alleged victim was in fact the aggressor in the situation, although that isn't always the case. Fresno residents are also allowed to use force in defense of others or in defense of property in certain circumstances.

Consent is also a defense to these charges, although it probably comes up less often than most other defense strategies. For instance, if an individual voluntarily participates in a contact sport, like boxing, that person cannot later claim that they were a victim of battery if they are struck by the other participant - they consented to the contact.

Source: legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com, "Assault and Battery," Accessed Jan. 5, 2015

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