Getting into an altercation can be physically painful and legally problematic. Depending upon how a law enforcement official interprets the events of a fight, a Virginia resident may find themselves facing serious assault or battery charges. A conviction on such a criminal accusation can have lasting effects on a person's record and may impact their future in a negative way.
It is therefore in the interests of criminal defendants to offer defenses to the allegations that have been made against them. When a person is charged with assault or battery they may be able to assert self-defense as an explanation for the facts surrounding their charges. A claim of self-defense generally requires that several elements be proven in order to be successful at trial.
First, a person must be able to prove that they were threatened with force or harm before they acted in self-defense. The threat of force or harm must be believable; in such a situation the party that asserted self-defense must have had a real fear of being harmed before acting in a manner to protect their own safety.
Next, the party asserting self-defense must be able to show that they did not provoke their attacker prior to engaging in self-defense. They must also generally be able to prove that they had no options for getting away.
This post should not be read as legal advice on any criminal defense topic. Assault and battery charges are serious, and readers are encouraged to learn more about self-defense and other defense claims that may support the acquittal of their pending criminal charges. Attorneys who work in the criminal defense field can offer them support to prepare strategies to meet their own legal battles.