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Orlando Lawyers List the Most Common Legal Defenses Against Assault

Orlando Lawyers List the Most Common Legal Defenses Against Assault Charges

Being charged with assault can lead to serious legal consequences like jail time, fines, probation, or a criminal record. That’s why working with an experienced Orlando criminal defense lawyer is crucial for mounting the strongest defense possible against assault allegations. There are several common legal defenses that a knowledgeable attorney may use to get charges reduced or dismissed.


One of the most common defenses against assault is claiming self-defense[1]. This means admitting to the violent act, but arguing it was necessary to protect yourself or someone else from harm. For example, if someone breaks into your home and attacks you, fighting back to stop the intruder is self-defense. Or if you see someone being violently mugged on the street, stepping in to stop the mugger from hurting them further could be self-defense.

To successfully argue self-defense, your attorney must show:

  • You reasonably believed force was needed to prevent death or great bodily harm to yourself or another person.
  • You used an appropriate level of force to stop the threat – not excessive force beyond what was reasonably necessary.
  • You were not the initial aggressor – the other person provoked or threatened you first.

Self-defense can be used against charges like battery, aggravated battery, or manslaughter. But the force you use must match the level of threat you faced. Your lawyer’s job is gathering evidence to show you acted reasonably to protect yourself or others[2].

Defense of Others

Similar to self-defense, defense of others means you used physical force to protect someone else from harm[3]. For example, if you see a woman being assaulted by her partner, stepping in to restrain him could be defense of others. Or if someone tries to violently kidnap a child in front of you, fighting them off to rescue the child could qualify.

To successfully claim defense of others, your attorney must prove:

  • You reasonably believed the other person was facing imminent death or serious bodily harm.
  • Your use of force was necessary to prevent that harm.
  • You used an appropriate level of force – not excessive beyond what the situation called for.

Again, the key is showing your actions were reasonable to protect the other person from harm. Your lawyer will gather witness statements and evidence to demonstrate this.


In assault cases involving adults, consent can be a defense. Consent means both people voluntarily engaged in the physical encounter willingly, making the acts not criminal[4].

For example, contact sports like boxing or football involve physical contact that could be considered assault outside the rules of the game. But because both parties consent by choosing to play the sport, it’s not legally assault. Defenses like consent require very specific circumstances with evidence that both parties agreed to the conduct.

Involuntary Intoxication

If someone commits assault while extremely intoxicated through no fault of their own, it may be a defense. For example, if someone unknowingly ingests a hallucinogen that causes violent behavior, involuntary intoxication could apply.

However, the intoxication must be proven completely involuntary – getting voluntarily drunk or high does not excuse criminal acts. There must be evidence you were intoxicated against your will or without your knowledge. It’s a very limited defense that requires extensive proof.

Mental Incapacity

In some cases, a mental disease or defect can provide a legal defense to assault. However, the mental impairment must be so severe that you could not understand the consequences of your actions or that they were wrong[5].

Your defense lawyer would need to provide medical records and expert testimony from psychologists demonstrating you were legally insane or mentally incompetent at the time. Simply having a mental illness is not enough – it must be a rare case of extremely impaired mental functioning.

Mistaken Identity

If there is strong evidence you were misidentified and wrongly accused of assault, it may provide a defense. For example, if multiple credible witnesses or video evidence places you in a different location at the time of the assault, mistaken identity could result in dropped charges.

Your attorney can file motions to exclude questionable identification procedures, like improper lineups or photo arrays, used to identify you. They can also present alibis and other proof showing it was actually someone else.

False Accusations & Retaliation

Unfortunately, some assault allegations are fabricated for ulterior motives like revenge or extortion. Your lawyer can investigate whether the accuser has made prior false claims or has reason to retaliate against you. They can also look for inconsistencies in the accuser’s statements and version of events to show they are lying.

If your attorney uncovers evidence the charges are based on false accusations, they can aggressively advocate for the case to be dismissed. No one should be wrongly convicted due to someone else’s dishonesty.

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