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What are common defenses against New Jersey assault charges?

It might not take much to trigger an arrest on a charge of battery in New Jersey. Throwing and landing a punch might be enough. The possibility of being charged with assault can take even less. All you have to do is make a verbal threat. If the person it's aimed at fears bodily harm, a charge of assault could follow.

Regardless of the nature of the charges, the prosecution has to prove that the elements of the crime fit. Since even a threat can be treated as a violent crime and yield serious penalties if a conviction is obtained, a defendant needs to take the matter seriously.

It's clear that the range of possible allegations that might be made under the heading of assault and battery is broad. No one can predict the outcome of any given case. Each one is different. However, the specific circumstances of your situation may provide the foundation on which to build a defense. Following are some of the most common strategies used.

Self Defense

Making this claim puts the burden on the defense to show that at the time the crime was committed, the defendant didn't start things, couldn't retreat and acted out of fear for his or her own safety. The force used in response to the threat also must arguably be reasonable.

Defense of property or others

You have a right to defend your property. If you act to protect a loved one or even a stranger from a perceived threat, you may be able to argue you had grounds for using violence. However, the perceived threat has to be real and the response must arguably be something any reasonable person would have used.


There can be times when an apparent assault is consensual. Two people may choose to engage in a fight. The limitation on this defense might be if the person charged continued to inflict harm after the other person gave up. Assault charges might stem from sexual activity. Again, consent might provide a defense.

Whether any of these might serve to help you if you are charged is something to discuss with a skilled lawyer.

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What are common defenses against New Jersey assault charges? | The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo