Growing up, you may have heard that you should always stick up for yourself and that standing up to bullies will get them to leave you alone. While these tactics may have proven useful to you as a child, getting into a physical altercation as an adult could have more serious consequences. Even if you feel that you had to take such action, you could still potentially face criminal charges for assault.
As many people in your situation choose to argue, you may feel that your actions were necessary due to acting out of self-defense. However, simply saying that you attempted to defend yourself may not cause the allegations of assault to disappear. Therefore, you may wish to better understand how the elements of self-defense could play into your criminal defense.
What is self-defense?
You may have utilized self-defense if you took certain actions in hopes of preventing violence or other acts that may have caused you or someone else harm. However, many specific details of an event could also determine whether the situation warranted the steps you took to defend yourself or others.
For example, in order for your argument of self-defense to apply to your situation, your actions must have been proportional to the actions taken against you. This means that, if someone attempted to inflict a minor amount of harm to you and you retaliated by taking steps that could have caused considerable or even fatal harm, the court will likely not view your actions as self-defense.
Was an imminent threat present?
You also cannot effectively claim self-defense if no imminent threat to you or someone else existed. However, if another person acts in a manner that makes you feel that he or she may harm you in the immediate future, an imminent threat exists. This type of threat could come in physical or verbal forms as long as you fear that you could suffer physical harm.
Additionally, your fear must be reasonable. If you overreact to a situation, cause someone else physical harm and then claim self-defense, your argument may not hold much weight.
Is self-defense a criminal defense?
In the event that authorities charge you with assault or a similar allegation, your claims of self-defense may work in your favor. In order to determine whether this route could prove beneficial to your particular circumstances, you may wish to find out more information on the charges brought against you and your criminal defense options.