Common Defenses For Fort Walton Beach Assault Arrests

Handcuffs on the back

Whether you were arrested for domestic violence or regular assault in Fort Walton Beach, it is crucial to your defense to craft a theory of the case that will explain to the jury what happened, why it happened, and why you should not be held responsible. There are a multitude of different types of defenses available to individuals accused of assault. However, the defense theories available for your particular case will vary based on the individual facts and circumstances. Below are some defenses commonly presented in assault trials in Fort Walton Beach.

Mistaken Identity 

Sometimes, the Fort Walton Beach police simply get the wrong guy. When a complainant calls the police to report a crime, the police will ask for a description of the suspect. If the complainant doesn’t have a relationship with the suspect or has never met the suspect before, then descriptions and identification can get pretty dicey. Often times, descriptions are incredibly vague. A routine description might be: “White male, jeans, dark shirt, dark hair, wearing a hat.” This description could apply to most male residents in Fort Walton Beach, yet the police still become convinced they’ve found the right guy when they see someone matching that vague description in the general vicinity of the crime. In addition, when the suspect is presented to the complainant for identification, the complainant may misidentify that person as the perpetrator due to confirmation bias.


Unfortunately, sometimes, complainants are the ones with motive, not the accused. Individuals fabricate reports of assault and abuse often. Complaints may be falsified due to mental health issues. For instance, many nursing home residents with dementia file false reports of nursing home abuse because they are paranoid and hallucinate. More often, though, complainants fabricate assault as a means of retaliating against the accused.


Assault requires intent. If you did not intend to assault the complainant, you cannot be criminally prosecuted. For instance, if you were playing catch with your son and accidentally hit your neighbor with the baseball, you have not assaulted your neighbor because there is no intent.


Florida law recognizes a right to stand your ground. If you are being assaulted by another individual or if you fear imminent bodily harm, you are permitted to defend yourself. You are not required to first run away and seek shelter or otherwise diffuse the situation. Self-defense is available when you are not the initial aggressor. If the complainant assaulted you first, a subsequent blow you strike in order to defend yourself will not count as assault. However, in rare occasions, the court may find that your self-defense was not proportional, even though your belief that you needed to defend yourself was reasonable. For instance, if someone slaps you, you cannot shoot them in the head because a slap does not create an imminent deadly force.

Constitutional Violations 

If your Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights were violated by the Fort Walton Beach police during your arrest, you can request suppression of arrests, evidence, or statements. Often times, after suppression has been granted, there is nothing left for the State Attorney’s Office to make a case. The prosecutor is then forced to dismiss the charges.

Craft a Defense Theory with Fort Walton Beach’s Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer 

A smart Fort Walton Beach criminal defense lawyer will evaluate the facts of your case, come up with multiple potential defense theories, and choose the one with the highest likelihood of success that matches your goals for the case. Stephen G. Cobb can assist you with designing a strategy to defend against the charges. Call Stephen G. Cobb, Board Certified Specialist in Florida Criminal Law, at (850) 669-5882.

Cobb Criminal Defense Law Firm
1992 Lewis Turner Blvd, Suite 101-B
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
(850) 669-5882

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