Possible Defenses Against Assault and Battery Charges

If you are charged with assault and battery charges in the state of Idaho, you are likely to face stiff penalties. The state laws distinguish between the two types of offenses. Assault is when a threat, or attempt, to harm someone is made but doesn’t necessarily result in physical harm. In contrast, battery involves actual harm to the intended person.

Penalties for Assault and Battery Crimes

The penalties for assault include a prison sentence of up to three months, or a $1,000 fine, or both as per Idaho Code Section 18-902. For battery, the Idaho laws define penalties depending upon the severity of the offense. For a first offense with no aggravating factors, the penalties include a jail time of up to six months, or a $1,000 fine, or both.

If aggravating factors are involved, the offense can result in a jail time of up to one year. For instance, if this is the second conviction for the same offense, or the victim is a pregnant woman, stiffer penalties apply.

When the battery is directed towards a police officer, the penalties are even severer. In such cases, the offense is deemed a felony with a punishment of up to five years behind bars.

Defenses for Assault and Battery Crimes

Not all cases are equal, nor are all offenses. You may have been convicted of assault or battery crimes, but if you can present a reasonable defense that justifies your actions, you may be able to have the charges dropped or the penalties significantly reduced. Here’s a look at the possible defenses in such cases.


This is the most common type of defense used in assault and battery cases. You can plead this defense if you can prove that:

  • You faced an imminent threat of harm
  • You didn’t provoke the other person to attack you
  • You couldn’t escape the situation or retreat from the attack
  • You have no choice but to retaliate against the other person

If you can prove these elements, you can successfully present self-defense as a valid defense for the assault or battery charges against you.

Defense of Others

This argument is similar to self-defense but is different in that you claim you were protecting one or more other persons when you committed the alleged assault or battery. You must be able to show that the other person was about to harm the persons you were protecting at the time. You must also prove that you had no way to protect the other persons but by using force.


This is a defense typically used in sexual assault cases. A person convicted of assault of this type may claim that the victim had consented, so the encounter was not an assault. If you are using this line of argument, you will need to clearly prove that consent was involved.

Defense of Property

If a person was assaulting your property by trying to enter your home and you physically hurt that person, you have a valid defense. You can show that you were compelled to use force in order to defend your property. Although this line of argument typically applies when another person tries to invade your home, it can also be used when another person attempts to snatch your purse or pick your pocket. This is because the contents of your pocket or your purse are also a type of property.

Crime of Passion

Some assault and battery crimes are committed in the heat of the moment, due to intense passions that are suddenly aroused. When this is the case, you can plead that your actions were a result of sudden passion. If you have the evidence to support this defense, the law may recognize your actions as a crime of passion. In such a case, the penalties for your actions may be significantly reduced.

Hiring a Domestic Battery Attorney in Boise, Idaho

If you have been charged with an assault or battery offense in Boise, Idaho, we can help you. Assault and battery convictions not only carry stiff penalties, they also do lasting harm to your social reputation and standing. This is why it is critically important to property defend yourself if charged with either of these offenses.

Here Aaron Hooper, Attorney at Law, we believe that everyone has a right to a fair trial. This is why we work with you to find a suitable defense for any assault or battery charges against you. Get in touch today to discuss your case with our lawyers and see how we can help you.

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