Civil Assault Defenses
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Civil Assault Defenses
Assault is the intentional act of placing someone in fear or apprehensive of an imminent battery. The laws governing assault do not require a person to touch the plaintiff to be considered assault. Any offensive touching or harm is battery. When sued for civil assault, a defendant does have a defense to win the case.
What If I Did Not Intend to Assault the Plaintiff?
You would still be liable for the assault because the theory of transferred intent negates the need for specific intent toward a specific individual. Transferred intent refers to someone intentionally trying to commit a tort against one person, but commits the tort against a second person instead. In other words, if a defendant intended to assault or batter another, but assaulted the plaintiff instead while still intended to engage in the actions that caused the assault, the intent that the defendant had for the original person is transferred to the victim.
What Are the Available Defenses to Civil Assault?
The most common assault defenses are:
- Denial of Assault Elements: A plaintiff has to prove each element of assault. A defendant can deny one or more of the elements ever occurred such as placing the plaintiff in fear or apprehension.
- Self-Defense: The defendant has a legal right to defend themselves against physical force. They can admit to assaulting the plaintiff, but the assault was done to stop the plaintiff from harming them. This defense also allows the defendant to counter-sue the plaintiff.
- Consent: With this defense, a plaintiff gives the defendant permission to assault him. The consent can be given indirectly or directly. For example, the plaintiff and defendant may be playfully insulting each other. The plaintiff may sudden think the defendant’s actions have placed them in fear of an immediate battery. In this circumstance,the defendant can claim the plaintiff consented to the assault.
- Privilege: Privilege to assault is the legal right to assault someone. This privilege is usually limited to a police officer who is attempting to place an individual under arrest.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Civil Assault Case?
Yes. If you have been accused of assault, it is in your best interests to contact a personal injury lawyer. They will explain all the defenses available to you.
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Last Modified: 07-27-2015 02:21 PM PDT
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