Assault charges can result from a physical altercation with someone else. Even though you did not initiate the altercation, you eventually put an end to it through the use of physical force. Now, the state of Arkansas wants to charge you with a criminal offense.
Obviously, pleading guilty to an assault charge when you only acted to protect yourself or another person could be a big mistake, as the criminal record that results could limit your opportunities for years to come. However, you might not be in a position to deny your involvement, especially if there were witnesses or security cameras at the scene of the fight.
Can you claim that you acted in self-defense as a response to pending assault charges?
Arkansas allows you to act in self-defense
If your situation meets certain criteria, self-defense claims as part of your defense might be possible. No one should have to submit to an act of violence or intimidation by another person. The self-defense laws in Arkansas recognize your right to protect yourself when you feel an immediate fear for your safety because of the actions of another person.
You can use the amount of force that you believe is necessary for your own protection when another person makes you think that they will harm you or if they initiate an act of physical violence against you.
Typically, those who were the initial aggressor in a physical altercation cannot claim self-defense. However, if you clearly stated that you want the confrontation to end and attempted to leave, only to have the other party persist in abusing or attacking you, then you may still qualify for a self-defense claim under Arkansas law.
Self-defense claims mean admitting that you were violent
If you respond to assault charges with the claim that you acted in self-defense, your strategy is an affirmative defense. Simply put, you agree with the prosecutor’s claim that you struck another person or used a weapon against them. However, you assert that your actions were legal under Arkansas criminal law because you only wanted to defend yourself or another person.
Self-defense is only one possible strategy for those accused of assault or similar offenses. Understanding the laws that apply to violent criminal charges makes it easier to plan a defense strategy.