Being accused of a crime is a very scary thing for most Americans. It's even scarier when you have been accused of an assault you're not guilty of. Unfortunately, this happens more often than it should, and it can be very difficult to defend yourself and your reputation. If you find yourself in this situation, here's what you need to know.

What Constitutes Assault?

The legal definition can vary from state to state or different jurisdictions, but basically, an assault only must contain a threat of causing harm; it does not need to include actual physical harm for someone to be charged with this crime. Battery, on the other hand, is the allegation of actual physical harm. With assault only requiring a mere threat, it should be clear just how easily a false charge can be levied against someone.

Prepare For Battle

Many, many people who have been falsely accused of a crime are currently sitting in prison. Why? They were naïve. Don't think that just because you are innocent and honest, you will be found blameless. It's natural for a good person to make the mistake of thinking if they just cooperate with the police or do things like volunteer to take a polygraph or give up their right to be silent, the wheels of justice will turn in their favor. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Hire An Attorney

As the adage says, a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client. Representing yourself in court because you are innocent and feel your innocence will prevail or because you can't afford it financially is completely foolish. What you can't afford is to potentially give up years of your life because you were falsely accused and convicted of a crime you didn't commit. As the Miranda rights explain, if you can't afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. Don't give up this right just because you aren't guilty of anything.

School Yourself

Whether you wanted it or not, you are now a part of the justice system, and the wheels of justice can move painfully slow. You may be released on bail, or you may be held pending the posting of a bond. Either way, start educating yourself immediately on the laws pertaining to assault in your area. Cooperate with your attorney and help them defend you the best they can.

For more information, contact your local assault crime law services.