Things to Know When Planning to Claim Self-Defense

If being convicted of a charge such as assault or domestic violence, it is always a viable option that in committing the act, you were doing so in defense of personal safety. This is universally accepted as a valid reason for acting violently, as long as your actions were appropriate given the situation.

This blog will provide a brief overview of the principle and rules of self-defense, and what it could mean for your charge.

Factors that are considered

When you have claimed self-defense for a crime that you committed, many factors are taken into consideration when reviewing the circumstances. Firstly, a judge will consider whether the threat to your personal safety was imminent. Only when there is an imminent and inescapable threat to your safety is violence generally permitted.

Another factor that will be considered is whether the fear of harm that you felt was reasonable given the circumstances. In this situation, it will be considered whether a "reasonable person" hypothetically would have thought the situation dangerous enough to act in self-defense.

Your act of self-defense must also be in a good proportion to the threat that was presented to you. For example, it would not be permissible to act with a deadly force when you are not in a serious situation.

Many states also require that a person makes a considered attempt to escape the situation before acting in violence. This is known as the "duty to retreat". However, many states have removed this rule when it comes to non-lethal force.

An attorney can help you learn more about the defense of self-defense and whether it would apply to your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Self defense overview," accessed Sep. 07, 2017

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