Domestic assault is a very serious charge, and can result in significant penalties if you get convicted. If you are facing criminal charges for domestic assault, therefore, it is important to understand the defenses that may be available to you.
You were acting in self-defense
If you can show that you were only using force because you reasonably believed that it was necessary to protect yourself from imminent harm, then the charges against you may get dismissed. One way to do this is to show that you had a history of being abused by the alleged victim.
Another way to establish self-defense is to show that you reasonably believed that you were about to be attacked. For example, if the alleged victim was coming at you in a threatening manner and you used force to defend yourself, then self-defense may be a valid defense.
It is important to note, however, that you can only use the amount of force that is reasonably necessary to protect yourself from harm. If you use excessive force, any criminal defense lawyer will tell you that you may still get charged with domestic assault.
You were not the aggressor
If you can show that you did not start the physical altercation, then you may be able to get the charges against you dismissed. This defense is particularly relevant if the alleged victim was the one who instigated the fight.
For example, if the alleged victim threw the first punch and you responded by defending yourself, then you may not be guilty of domestic assault. Again, this defense may not be available if you responded to the alleged victim’s provocation with excessive force.
You acted under duress
If you can show that you only committed the act of domestic assault because you were threatened with imminent harm, then you may be able to get the charges against you dismissed.
For example, if the alleged victim threatened to kill you unless you hit them, then you may be able to use this defense. However, you will need to be able to show that the threat was credible and that you had no other way to avoid the harm.
If you are facing criminal charges for domestic assault, it is important to try and remain calm and consider all of your options. Based on the specific facts and circumstances of your case, one or more of these defenses may be available to you.