When one individual becomes physically violent toward another person, that other person or a witness may report the interaction to law enforcement. If the police arrest you and then charge you with assault, you could face a lifetime of consequences ranging from reduced employment opportunities to limitations on where you can live.
There may be several different ways for you to defend against a pending assault charge in California, depending on the circumstances that led to your arrest. The two below are among the most common defenses for those accused of assault.
Show that you acted in defense of yourself or another person
California has multiple statutes that make self-defense legal. If you believe that another person poses an immediate threat of bodily harm to you or someone else, you can defend yourself or that other person with physical force if necessary. Claiming self-defense can be a way to reframe the situation and challenge the police’s or prosecution’s narrative that you are violent and dangerous.
Provide an alibi or challenge the evidence that you were there
Perhaps you were actually somewhere else at the time of the alleged assault and had no role whatsoever in the incident. You merely look like the person who allegedly committed the crime.
It’s also possible that errors in how the police collected or analyzed evidence resulted in their inaccurate identification of you as the primary suspect. Proving that you weren’t present or challenging the evidence used by the state can both be successful ways of undermining the charges against you and creating reasonable doubt about whether you actually physically hurt another person.
Exploring all of your defense options will be incredibly important if you find yourself accused of assault or another violent criminal offense.