When people in New York are brought up on assault and battery charges, their lawyers could potentially use self-defense, protection of another person or property, or consent as the defenses in their cases. Assault and battery occurs when one individual threatens to and then carries out violence or force against another person in an unlawful manner.
A defense strategy involving self-defense would need to be backed by evidence that the defendant had a reason to fear harm from the other person. With this argument, attorneys need to demonstrate that their clients had no other alternatives, that the individual had threatened them or that they had no options for getting out of the situation. A defense strategy of protecting another person, such as a child, friend or family member, would require similar evidence of a threat to the individual's well-being.
With protection of property, there are limits to how far homeowners or individuals protecting belongings such as purses can go to keep others from taking or doing damage to their possessions. The law allows for reasonable force, depending on the type of crime committed. Consent can be more difficult to use as a defense because even if a person did consent, a judge is more likely to bring charges of assault and battery if violent crimes are suspected. With this strategy, the defense side has to show the act in question is similar in nature to another act consented to previously.
In an assault and battery case, evidence such as police reports, detailed hospital records and restraining orders can help show that the defendants had reason to fear their exes, family members or people stalking them or their loved ones. Eyewitnesses can also help to confirm that the level of threat or physical violence at the time or in the past justified an act of force.
Source: FindLaw, 'Assault and Battery Overview," Accessed on Feb. 23, 2015