Have you gotten into a fight lately? If so, then you might have found yourself coming face-to-face with assault charges. These types of charges can be quite serious, resulting in incarceration upon conviction. Additionally, an assault charge on your criminal record can affect you for years to come by making it harder to pass background checks for employers and landlords.

In order to avoid those penalties, you need to know the law and how to defend against such charges. For example, simple assault occurs when an individual knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person, or he or she attempts to cause bodily injury to another person.

What does that mean? It means that in order to obtain a conviction, prosecutors must prove that you either knew that you were going to cause bodily injury, or that you acted in a reckless manner. These are slippery terms that can be difficult for prosecutors to get a hold of.

A common approach to defending assault charges is to claim self-defense. If you injured another individual simply because you were defending yourself, then you may have a valid claim of self-defense.  Simply stated, your conduct would be justified.

In the event of a fight, another defense option might be to claim that it was mutual. Doing so is still a crime, but it can lessen the penalties you face. In some instances, prosecutors can even be convinced to drop these charges because they don’t deem the case worth the effort.

Of course, every case is different, meaning that each one requires a custom-tailored legal approach. Fortunately, you can seek help from an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to handle these types of cases with competence and skill.