How can I defend myself against assault charges in California?

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Accusations that you committed a violent offense may eventually lead to criminal charges. In California, the state could charge you with an assault offense for hurting someone else or seemingly trying to hurt another person.

Assault charges not only carry criminal consequences but will saddle you with a criminal record that will make other people think you are violent or dangerous. How might you defend yourself against assault allegations in California?

Challenge the evidence

Sometimes, there are issues with the way that police officers gather evidence or secure a crime scene. It may be possible that the physical evidence that allegedly connects you to the scene of the crime is circumstantial and the results of contamination, rather than your involvement in an assault. There may also have been a violation of your rights that makes certain evidence unusable in court. 

Prove that you weren’t present or didn’t act in the way others claim

Providing an alibi could help you defeat those charges. Records that show that you were at work at the time of the incident, cellphone data that shows your device was active blocks away or even a friend willing to verify that you were with them could all help you create a reasonable doubt about your involvement in the situation.

Security camera footage or witness statements could also help you prove that you were not the one involved in the altercation. If you were present, you may be able to challenge the narrative of events. Maybe you didn’t push the other person who brought the accusation against you but instead saw them trip on their own. Raising questions about whether you caused harm or intended to cause harm could be a potential defense strategy.

Establish that you acted to defend yourself

Perhaps there’s no question that you were present and that you struck or injured someone else, but you didn’t do so with the intent to harm. Instead, you just wanted to protect yourself or someone else. Using an affirmative defense, such as the claim of self-defense, can be a successful tactic for cases with substantial evidence connecting you to the incident.

Exploring all of your options will give you the best chance of success when responding to assault charges in California.