Accusations of assault have the potential to lead to serious legal trouble, regardless of whether those accusations have merit. If someone attacks you and you behave aggressively to protect yourself, you may be able to show that you acted in self-defense.
The self-defense argument is a common one following a criminal charge. It means that you agree that you acted in a certain manner, but that you did so only because the situation forced your hand. The American legal system has long asserted that individuals have a right to defend themselves against harm. Proving self-defense typically involves demonstrating three things.
1. That the action was necessary
Imagine someone threatens you and makes a motion toward you, fists raised. If you swing at the person to prevent them from striking you, you may be able to argue that your action was necessary because the aggressor posed a serious threat to you.
2. That your fear of harm was legitimate
You also need to show how your fear of harm was valid and warranted. Perhaps the individual was under the influence and had been demonstrating aggression to you all evening. Sharing this may help show how your threat of harm was real and not just perceived.
3. That your response was reasonable
Arguing self-defense also involves proving that you acted in self-defense in a manner that fit the circumstance. If someone strikes you in a bar and you retaliate with a knife or wait several days before responding, these may not constitute reasonable responses.
Assault charges may lead to jail time, hefty fines and other penalties if the true aggressor in a situation tries to place the blame on you.