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How a Self Defense Strategy Helps You Avoid Conviction for Assault Charges

12 Aug 2021, by Christian Lautenschleger in Assault
Woman with raised fists

Written by Timothy Czekaj

Self-defense is an effective strategy to help you avoid conviction for assault charges in Pennsylvania. If you’re found guilty, you could face considerable jail or prison time, fines, and other harsh penalties.

Don’t let yourself be convicted on an assault charge when you were defending yourself. Czekaj Law is prepared to help you prove self-defense so you can avoid a devastating assault conviction.

Self-Defense Strategy After an Assault Charge

Pennsylvania recognizes self-defense as a justifiable defense for assault charges. Although you admit that you are responsible for harming someone, you acted because you had no other choice.

To win their case against you, the state’s prosecutor will need to be able to show that your use of force was not justifiable. While the burden of proof is on the state to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you need to take action to protect yourself.

Evidence to Bolster Your Self-Defense Claim

Your criminal defense attorney may need to bring evidence before the court to support your case. Some different types of evidence that could help your self-defense claim include:

  • Witness testimony
  • Photographic evidence
  • Video footage or surveillance
  • Medical records
  • Communication records, where applicable
  • Damaged items
  • Forensic evidence

An experienced criminal defender with the necessary evidence may be able to get the charges against you reduced, dismissed, or secure a not guilty verdict.

Pennsylvania Laws for Self-Defense

To be acting within your rights to defend yourself or others, you need to believe that the act of unlawful force was necessary to protect yourself or someone else.

There are four critical elements needed to prove self-defense:

  • Believe that you or someone else was in immediate danger
  • That use of force was immediately necessary
  • There was a confrontation using unlawful force
  • The fear of harm exists in the present occasion (when the attack occurred)

A successful self-defense strategy could help you avoid conviction for simple assault or aggravated assault charges.

Criminal Court Process for Assault Charges in PA

The criminal court process for an assault charge can be complex. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be for your case.

Most people find it intimidating to face assault charges alone. It is easy to feel overwhelmed in the criminal justice system. A Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer guides you through each stage to protect your rights and help you understand your options.

Arrest or Criminal Complaint

First, the police need to arrest you. Officers might arrest you without a warrant or file a criminal complaint against you. After the complaint or arrest takes place, you’ll receive a court summons about the charges.

Arraignment and Bail

A preliminary arraignment is your first court appearance for your case. Here, the court will read the list of charges against you, and the judge will decide if you should get bail.

The judge determines whether your case should move forward to the Court of Common Pleas. In some cases, the judge may rule there is insufficient evidence and can dismiss your case.

Court of Common Pleas

If the judge sends your case to the Court of Common Pleas, the district attorney reviews your case. The DA might decide to drop the charges against you or file formal charges against you.

Pretrial Conference and Plea Deal

After arraignment, you and your lawyer have a pretrial conference with the prosecutor and consider whether a plea agreement is appropriate. If we do not come to a plea agreement, we’ll move forward to trial.

Trial and Appeal

At trial, you’ll either be found guilty or not guilty. If you are convicted, you receive a sentence. You could file an appeal if your case meets specific criteria. Your attorney can help you understand your options.

Proving self-defense could be your best chance at avoiding the penalties associated with an assault conviction in Pennsylvania.

Contact a Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Self-defense is an effective defense strategy for assault. Using force against another individual because you feared for your life is a reasonable and justifiable defense. A Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer tells your side of the story to pursue a dismissal, reduced charges, or an acquittal.

Get Czekaj Law to handle your assault charge defense. We have successfully resolved similar cases for other clients. Call 717-275-9770 or use our quick contact form to schedule a free, no-risk consultation.

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