If you have been arrested and face criminal charges, it can be a daunting and scary experience. However, it is possible to claim that you used self-defense when you have been accused of a violent crime. Criminal defense lawyers can represent their clients by saying they were only acting in self-defense and the charges may be dropped altogether. It’s important to know how self-defense can be proven in court if you wish to make that claim.
What is Self-Defense?
Self-defense can be a complex area of the law. It is the use of force or violence to prevent a violent attack from another person. It is meant to protect oneself and may occasionally mean that a certain level of force is used. However, there may be questions raised depending on the specific situation. Some of those would include the following: What level of force was used to fight off an attack? What is an appropriate level of force when protecting oneself? What if the would-be victim actually provoked the attack? What if the victim thought there was a threat when there wasn’t any? These questions can be answered by an experienced attorney, however, the answer will vary depending on each individual’s case details.
Possible Arguments for Self-Defense
It’s important to remember that, to convict you of a crime, the prosecutor has to prove that you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. While all cases are different, criminal defense lawyers can use several arguments when claiming their client acted in self-defense. They include the following:
- The threat was imminent: In any self-defense claim, the use of force is only justified when there was an immediate threat posed to the individual. That threat can be physical and even verbal if it instilled fear of physical harm to you. However, if it was only offensive language used and the threat had ended, it would not work in a self-defense claim but would be classed more as retaliation.
- A reasonable fear of harm: If your fear of harm was reasonable, even if the other person didn’t seriously mean it, the self-defense may be justified. The fear of imminent danger would justify the use of force.
- Imperfect self-defense: Imperfect self-defense is used when the defendant had a legitimate fear of imminent physical harm, but that fear was objectively unreasonable. When an individual in this situation uses force to protect himself, it is known as imperfect self-defense. It doesn’t eliminate the criminal charges but reduces them.
Other Things to Consider When Claiming Self-Defense
There are other things to consider when claiming self-defense against a criminal charge. They include the following:
- Proportional response: In order to successfully claim self-defense, you must prove that the force used matched the level of the threat. For example, if the other person tried to use deadly force and you used the same to counter it, it would be justified.
- Duty to retreat: Duty to retreat means first making an attempt to avoid the threat before using force.
- Stand your ground: Standing your ground is essentially the opposite of duty to retreat.
- Castle doctrine: This refers to an intruder entering your home and you subsequently using deadly force against them.
If you are facing criminal charges and know you legitimately relied on self-defense, you need a skilled attorney to assist you. At Smith & Eulo, we have represented thousands of clients who were facing criminal charges. Our experienced Self-Defense Attorneys will discuss your case with you and look at the options you have as a defense. Call us at your earliest convenience to schedule an initial consultation.
For more information on our Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyers, please visit our site.