Assault doesn’t always have to involve physically hurting someone. Assault can also be interpreted as acting in a way that makes someone afraid that you are going to harm them. In Minnesota, simple assault is classified as a misdemeanor. Minnesota law defines it as intentional or attempted infliction of injury or intent to cause the victim to fear that they could soon be injured or killed. Even though simple assault is a misdemeanor, you could still be penalized with jail time and hefty fines if you are convicted. Working with an experienced Minneapolis personal injury attorney can help you beat simple assault charges.
Affirmative Defenses for Simple Assault Charges
With a knowledgeable attorney on your side, you can be assured that you will have a defense that gives you the best chance of a “not guilty” verdict or having the charges dropped altogether. An affirmative defense does not deny that you committed the act of simple assault. Rather, it argues that what you did should not be considered a crime for one or more reasons. The two most common affirmative defenses in simple assault charges are:
- Self Defense — This affirmative defense purports that you committed the assault because you were defending yourself. Your legal team will need to prove that the other party was the aggressor, and that their behavior warranted you defending yourself in the manner that you did. You will also need to show that your actions did not involve unnecessary force. You could also use the defense of another person or defense of property as affirmative strategies. Defense of property usually involves someone protecting their home from an intruder.
- Consent — If two parties agree to such physical force or action, then it does not fit the definition of legal assault. For example, if two wrestlers willingly engage in a match and one accuses the other of assault because the first wrestler was pinned to the floor, an affirmative defense of consent would be appropriate. However, if a wrestler began a match before it was officially time to start, that wrestler may not be successful in using this defense.
These types of defense strategies question the behavior that you are accused of exhibiting. They include:
- Lack of credibility — In other words, the alleged victim of the assault is lying and you are arguing that their story doesn’t make sense. Your Minneapolis criminal defense attorney will work to highlight the inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s story and use eyewitnesses to do the same. Doing so can raise doubts in the mind of the prosecution about your case. Your attorney might also attempt to call into question the alleged victim’s credibility or the credibility of their witnesses.
- The wrong defendant — Although most people like to believe they can rely on their memories, studies have shown that human memory is often inaccurate or influenced by the events at the time. The alleged victim’s memories could be clouded by their own emotions, biases, and embellishments. Unfortunately, the wrong individual will often be accused of crimes they did not commit due to the unreliability of the victim’s memory. Your attorney can use witnesses, surveillance footage, or even someone who can confirm your alibi at the time of the crime to bolster you defense. Keep in mind that videos or pictures of you at a different location at the time of the offense will be more credible than other evidence, like a concert ticket or a receipt to a restaurant.
Rely on Minnesota’s Experienced Simple Assault Charge Lawyers
Remember that the first step to beating a simple assault charge is hiring a Minneapolis attorney who has garnered successful results for multiple simple assault clients in the past. You should hire an attorney as soon as possible after you are charged with simple assault. Not only will this provide your attorney with more time to build the best defense under the circumstances, but it will also give them a better chance of gathering and using time-sensitive evidence. In addition, they can keep you from saying or doing something that could inadvertently harm your case.
Gerald Miller has represented more than 10,000 people over the past 30 years and continues to help those who are facing criminal charges in the Minneapolis area and throughout Minnesota. At Gerald Miller P.A., we are available to help you 24 hours a day. Schedule your free case review by contacting us online or calling 612-440-4608.