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Legal defenses to assault

In Mississippi, those convicted of assault can face serious penalties, including fines and jail time. However, depending on the nature of the alleged assault, there are legal defenses that may mitigate potential penalties.

A previous blog post discussed what constitutes assault in Mississippi. The different types of assault charges outlined, such as simple assault, aggravated assault, and assault on special victims, can each be defended based on the specific facts of the case. There are generally two main legal defenses to a charge of assault.

The first and most common defense to a charge of assault is that of self defense. A defendant must show that they reasonably believed they were going to be harmed, that there was in fact a threat of harm, that there was no provocation on their part and that they had no reasonable chance of escaping the situation.

Variations to this claim of self defense include defense of others and defense of property. Defense of others differs from self defense only in that the accused was defending a person other than themselves. An accused may rely on the defense of property claim when using reasonable force to defend their property; this defense is typically successful in cases of home invasion.

The second type of defense is that of consent. If permission was given for the act in question, then it may not constitute assault. However, this defense is generally more difficult to establish because courts are hesitant to permit harmful actions even when consent has been given as a matter of public policy.

Legal defenses to assault will vary depending on the nature of the alleged assault and the circumstances specific to the case. Successfully defending a charge of assault will require a strong criminal defense with consideration as to whether any legal defenses can and should be asserted.

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