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Can The State Prove You Guilty On An Assault & Battery/Domestic Violence Charge? Check Out This Info On Elements & Defenses

Can the Prosecution Prove You Guilty?  Or is There a Defense that Will Help Your Case?

If you’ve been charged with a crime, the Prosecution has the burden to prove you guilty.  If they don’t have enough evidence, or the right kind of evidence, they may not be able to prove you guilty!

Elements of a Crime

All crimes have certain “Elements” that must be met in order for the prosecution to be able to prove you guilty.  If we can prevent them from being able to prove even one element, you are going to have a much better chance of getting the outcome you want!

So what is an Element of a crime?  The best way to explain it is to just show the elements for Assault and Battery.  Elements are different for every crime, but all Assault related crimes will have similar elements.

Assault and Battery

The Oklahoma Uniform Jury Instructions states that:

No person may be convicted of assault and battery unless the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the crime. These elements are:

First, willful;

Second, unlawful;

Third, use of force or violence;

Fourth, upon another person.

This means that, in order for the prosecution to be able to prove you guilty of Assault and Battery, they have to prove that you: willfully and unlawfully, used force or violence on another person.

Assault and Battery With a Dangerous Weapon

If you were charged with a different Assault charge, for example, Assault and Battery With a Dangerous Weapon, the elements would be similar, but different.

The Oklahoma Uniform Jury Instructions states that:

No person may be convicted of assault/battery/(assault and battery) with a sharp/dangerous weapon unless the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the crime. These elements are:

First(an assault)/(a battery)/(an assault and battery);

Second, upon another person;

Third, with a sharp/dangerous weapon;

Fourth, without justifiable or excusable cause;

Fifth, with intent to do bodily harm.

This means that, in order for the prosecution to be able to prove you guilty of Assault and Battery With a Dangerous Weapon, they have to prove that you: committed an assault and battery, on another person, with a dangerous weapon, without justifiable cause, with the intent to do bodily harm.

Domestic ViolenceAssault and Battery

The elements for Domestic ViolenceAssault and Battery are similar, because it is still an assault charge, but there is an additional element involving the relationship between the two people.

The Oklahoma Uniform Jury Instructions states that:

No person may be convicted of domestic abuse unless the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the crime. These elements are:

First, willful;

Second, unlawful;

Third, attempting or offering to use force or violence; and

Fourth, the use of force or violence;

Fifth, was against the person of a [Specify Applicable Relationship in 21 O.S. Supp. 2011, § 644(C)].

This means that, in order for the prosecution to be able to prove you guilty of Domestic Violence, they have to prove that you: willfully and unlawfully attempted to use force or violence, and did use force or violence, against certain people – a person that you had a specified relationship with, for example, a spouse, former spouse, or a person with whom you are in a dating relationship.

ADDITIONAL ASSAULT CHARGES

There are other assault charges, but hopefully the above information gives you an idea of the types of things that the prosecution has to prove, and the potential defenses that can be used to your advantage.  Other assault charges include:

  • Assault and Battery With a Deadly Weapon,
  • Shooting With Intent to Kill,
  • Assault With Intent to Commit a Felony,
  • Throwing Bodily Fluids on a Government Employee,
  • Drive by Shooting (a/k/a Use of a Vehicle to Facilitate to Facilitate the Discharge of a Firearm), and
  • Assault and Battery on a Police Officer, etc.

DEFENSES TO ASSAULT AND BATTERY

As you can see, the elements for the various assault related charges are similar.  So the Defenses that we would explore would involve looking at potential weaknesses in any of these elements.

  • It was not an intentional act, in other words, it was an accident,
  • You had a lawful justification for using force, for example, self defense,
  • There was no weapon involved,
  • There was no force or violence,
  • Someone else committed the crime,
  • There was no relationship that fits the element,
  • Nothing happened,
  • You were not even there,
  • You did not intend to harm the person, etc.

 

If you have been charged with an Assault Crime, contact Fassio Law today by phone or e-mail so that we can help you!  405-593-8444 or clientrelations@fassiolaw.com

Serving the OKC Metro Area: Oklahoma County (Oklahoma City, Edmond), Cleveland County (Norman, Moore) and Canadian County (El Reno, Yukon, Mustang)