I didn’t start the fight, but I am charged with Assault in the Fourth Degree. What can I do?
First, do not talk about the fight with anyone but an attorney, even family members. Statements you make to others would likely be admissible in court should your case go to trial.
If you believe you were the victim, you may be able to assert self-defense at trial. For this to apply, you must have reasonably believed that you were about to be (or were being) assaulted, and used only the force reasonably necessary to defend yourself. One the defendant shows that self-defense possibly occurred, the burden is on the state to prove absence of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, which is often hard to do.
If you succeed on a self-defense instruction, you may also be able to recoup attorney fees from the State of Washington. Talk to an attorney experienced in these types of cases to learn more.
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