Defenses to Charges of Assault and Battery

assault and battery

If you have been charged with assault and battery in Michigan, there are various defenses that your attorney may be able to use in court. While every case is different, there are several common defenses that commonly arise when someone is facing charges of assault and battery.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can review your case, advise you which of these defenses may be available, and raise them on your behalf in court.


Self-defense is the most common defense in an assault and battery trial. When you claim self-defense, it means that you had no choice but to use physical force to protect yourself from harm. For a claim of self-defense to succeed, you must be able to show that you were threatened with harm, that you did not provoke the attack, and that you were not able to retreat or otherwise remove yourself from the situation.

Defense of Others

To claim defense of others, you must show the court that you needed to use physical force to protect someone else. A successful claim of defense of others means that you genuinely feared that someone else was in danger of harm and that you had no choice but to use force to defend them.

Defense of Property

In certain circumstances, you may be able to argue that you used force to defend your property. This defense is particularly compelling if you were defending your home. Claims of defense of property can be effective if you were defending against a home invasion, or if someone was trying to steal something from your person, such as a wallet or purse.


In rare cases, you may be able to claim that the alleged victim consented to your use of physical force. This defense often arises in cases of alleged sexual assault where someone consented to an encounter. In these cases, the use of physical force was consensual and, therefore, is not considered an assault.

Constitutional Defenses

In addition to the defenses that are specific to an assault charge, you also have various Constitutional defenses available. These include:

  • Improper Miranda warnings
  • Illegal search and seizure
  • Failure to obtain a warrant
  • Forced confession
  • Chain of custody issues

What Does the Prosecution Need to Prove to Convict You of Assault?

An assault and battery is the crime of causing physical harm to someone else. To secure a conviction for assault and battery, the prosecution must prove each and every element of the crime, beyond a reasonable doubt. In cases of assault, this means that the prosecution must prove that you intentionally caused or attempted to cause harm to someone else.

Michigan recognizes different types of assault based on the nature and extent of the harm and the status of the victim. For example, felonious assault occurs when someone commits an assault and battery with the intent to kill or cause serious bodily harm to someone else, or while committing another crime such as robbery or kidnapping, or if the assault involved the use of a deadly weapon like a firearm.

Domestic violence assault occurs when the assault and battery is committed against a domestic partner.

How Elmen Legal Can Help

Charges of assault and battery are serious, and you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elmen Legal can help.

When you hire Elmen Legal, I will mount your legal defense, and help by shouldering the emotional burden of an assault charge. I will keep you up to date and informed of the status of your case, advise you on the likelihood of success of the defenses you may be able to raise, and will vigorously defend you and protect your rights in court.

When I take on a criminal case, I start by investigating the allegations against you and analyzing the prosecution will present to try to convict you of a crime. We will work together to build your defense, and I will be your advocate in pre-trial hearings, during plea negotiations and, if necessary, at trial.

I know that an assault conviction carries serious consequences and that often, these consequences are more than just a fine and possible jail time. I also understand that facing criminal charges can be troubling and stressful. As your attorney, I will work hard to alleviate that stress, explain the legal process and the potential consequences of decisions you make, and act as your advocate.

Learn more about the cases I handle, read reviews from other people I have helped, then contact Elmen Legal today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case and how I can help.

I am proud to represent people who have been charged with assault and battery in Ann Arbor, Saline, Pittsfield Township, Chelsea, or Ypsilanti, in Washtenaw, Wayne, Monroe, Lenawee, Hillsdale, Jackson, Ingham, Livingston, and Oakland Counties.

Learn more about Michigan criminal defense attorney Robert Elmen, get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and learn why clients choose to work with Elmen Legal.

Categories: Assault