Have you been charged with assault? You will need to engage an experienced criminal lawyer to respresent you. People charged with an assault offence often legitimately claim that they acted in self defence, or in defence of their property, or in defence of another person. But there is a lot more to raising these defences than just simply declaring that you felt threatened and so acted in the way alleged.
Types of Assault Charges
Assault involves causing physical or mental harm to another, and includes striking, touching, moving or applying force of any kind. There are varying degrees of assault that you could be charged with, depending on the severity of the force used. These include:
- Common Assault: for minor assault matters, including threatening an individual, or striking a person where minor physical injuries have occured.
- Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm: a more serious form of assault, this occurs when an individual receives injuries that interfere with their health, such as requiring hospital treatment or time off work.
- Unlawful Wounding: where the offence includes breaking or penetrating the skin, resulting in bleeding.
- Grievous Bodily Harm: this is a serious assault charge, and results in the other party being seriously disfigured, maimed or any injury that if not treated, could indanger that person's life or cause permanent injury.
- Sexual Assault: inappropriately touching another without their consent, forcing someone to commit or watch an act of gross indecency (read more about sexual assault).
What is Self Defence?
The applicability of any form of self-defence is dependent on the degree of force used during the act which you claim to have been done in self-defence.
This is one area wherein matters of this nature the law becomes quite complex. If this issue is not resolved in your favour, then your claim of self-defence (no matter how threatened you felt) will fail and you will be convicted. This, as well as other complex issues that arise in assault charges, can only be properly explored by a skilled criminal lawyer.
Why Do I Need A Lawyer?
In fact, people charged with offences of this type have even greater reason to ensure that their case is handled skillfully than those charged with non-violent offending, because the law says that courts should not regard jail as a sentence of last resort if the charge involves violence.
And beyond all of that looms the prospect of being ordered to pay large compensation awards to victims if you are convicted of any offence of violence. Obviously, this could affect the security of your home and other assets.
For all of these reasons, offences of violence are definitely the sort of matter for which you should seek expert assistance.
Contact us today if you have been charged with assault.