Defense options for assault charges

| Oct 9, 2020 | Violent crimes

Assault is a serious crime in Maryland. Depending on what charge a defendant must face, the consequences for an assault conviction may result in years of imprisonment. It can benefit the criminal defense strategy and future of the defendant to get help from a dedicated criminal law professional.

Although there are no guarantees during a criminal trial, there are recognized defense strategies that Maryland courts recognize. When a defense strategy is successful, it can help a defendant beat their charges or reduce the penalties that they will face for their alleged crimes. While the defenses herein are possible options for individuals facing assault charges, they should not be considered legal guidance for readers.

Assault defense based on justification

A defense based on justification does not deny that a defendant engaged in some conduct that may otherwise be considered illegal. For example, an individual who uses a justification defense may admit that they did strike and harm another person during their trial. However, a justification defense explains why a person engaged in what may otherwise be illegal activity, and their justification is usually protection.

  • Self defense is a defense strategy that purports an alleged assailant was actually the original victim. The defendant claims that they only acted to protect themselves when they inflicted harm on the alleged victim.
  • Self of others is a defense strategy that purports an alleged assailant was actually protecting another victim. The defendant claims that they only acted to protect another person when they inflicted harm on the alleged victim.

Criminal defense professionals can discuss with their clients if these strategies may be supported by their assault cases.

Assault defense based on evidence or mistake

Another way to address a criminal charge like assault is to use a defense that claims a prosecutor is wrong to pursue the charge. For example, a defendant may state that a prosecutor failed to prove their case with evidence, or they may claim that they simply were not involved in the alleged incident that underlies the crime. These types of defenses do not necessarily admit certain conduct like justification defense do, but rather point out holes in the cases of the government lawyers who prosecute them.