If you are charged with assault in Illinois, you could face very serious consequences. For an aggravated assault charge, for example, you could face up to five years in prison.
However, it can be difficult for prosecutors to prove assault. Just because you are charged with the crime does not necessarily mean that you'll serve time behind bars.
Instead, with the help of a Chicago criminal defense attorney, you could be exonerated, depending on the circumstances. Here's a look at some common defenses to an assault charge:
- Self-defense. This is probably the most common defense used in an assault cause. In order to establish self-defense, you generally must show that a threat of unlawful force was made against you by the victim, that you reasonably and honestly perceived fear, and that you did not provoke the attack in the first place before using self-defense. Keep in mind that the amount of force used in the assault typically must be commensurate with the force you're being threatened with.
- Defense of others. Along with defending yourself, you may also be able to argue that you engaged in the assault to defend others such as your children. Similar to self-defense, you must show that you had an honest and real perceived fear of harm to another person.
- Consent. In some cases, consent may be used to excuse assault. For a variety of reasons, a victim may voluntarily consent to the assault. However, if the scope of the assault exceeds what is consented to, this defense may not be available. For example, if someone agrees to be punched in the arm and you punch him in the face, you may not be able to argue consent.
The defenses to an assault charge are very specific and depend upon the facts of each case. That's why it's important to consult with an attorney to review which defenses may potentially apply to your situation.