Assault and battery involves use of physical violence or the attempt to commit physical violence to injure or intimidate another person. Unlike other criminal offenses, where law enforcement may bring charges of their own volition, assault charges usually stem from action taken on the part of a victim. By requesting that law enforcement and prosecutors take action against someone, a victim of violence can secure some degree of justice.
However, it is also possible for someone who is not the victim of a crime to attempt to maliciously press charges against someone else, including someone who instigated a confrontation that turned violent. If you find yourself facing assault charges when you have not committed the crime, it is important to be aware of your options under Kentucky law.
Did you commit an assault without realizing it?
Some people violate state law without understanding that what they do is illegal. A misconception about what constitutes assault is at the root of this issue. Many people believe that assault involves a physical altercation, but that is not always the case.
Assault also involves the attempt to commit physical violence as well as the act of unwanted physical contact with another person, especially those who serve in certain roles for the state, such as peace officers, social workers and firefighters.
What is battery under Kentucky law?
Battery is a crime that involves intentional physical injury to another person. You have to have intended to cause harm to another for a situation to meet the definition of battery.
Assault charges exist on a scale with four degrees, with the first degree being the most severe. The more severe the circumstances, the more serious the charges that you may find yourself facing. In some cases, people accused of assault or battery could wind up facing a felony charge that carries up to 20 years in jail.
There are many potential defenses, including self-defense claims
Charges of assault and battery are serious and can carry significant penalties depending on your previous criminal history and the circumstances of the offense. No one strategy will work for every case, but a common strategy employed in assault and battery cases is to demonstrate to the courts how you acted out of a desire to defend yourself or someone else from violence.
If the alleged victim first put their hands on you or someone else, you may be able to claim that your actions were solely intended to defend yourself from harm. Other defense strategies could include showing that you were not present at the time of the altercation or proving that circumstances did not unfold in the way that the victim or the prosecutor claim they did.