When is self-defense a criminal defense option to an assault charge?

| Aug 21, 2020 | Firm News |

Physical altercations can be come serious legal problems for Mississippi residents who are unlucky enough to become involved in them. A fight at a bar or a quarrel with a neighbor may become a criminal legal issue if the other party alleges that an assault occurred. In Mississippi, an assault happens when an individual has the requisite intent to cause physical harm or the fear of physical harm in someone else, and then acts to accomplish that result.

Self-defense as a strategy for a criminal assault charge

When an individual is charged with a crime, they have the opportunity to present their side of the case. During their recitation of the facts and evidence they can offer to the court justifications, or defenses, for why their conduct may appear to be criminal. When an assault occurs, self-defense may be a viable strategy.

Self-defense, at its most basic level, asserts that an individual charged with assault was the original victim of the allegedly criminal incident. When a person is assaulted or attacked by another, they have the right to respond to protect themselves from harm. Individuals who use self-defense must be able to show that they had an imminent fear of suffering harm and that their actions were not disproportionate to the harm they could have or did suffer.

Why defense strategies matter for assault defendants

Assault is a crime that can be broken down into different categories. While simple assault may not involve time in jail, it can carry with it a hefty fine. Aggravated assault, a more serious assault charge, can result with a sentence of imprisonment for close to two decades. Many factors can influence the outcome and sentencing of an assault trial.

With such heavy consequences, it is important that assault defendants take their charges and their defense strategies seriously. They can work with criminal defense attorneys to help them work out their questions and problems. This post offers information only and should not be read as legal advice.