If you have been charged with domestic violence, can you justify your actions by claiming you were acting in self-defense? In a nutshell, yes, you can. The law allows you to protect yourself from imminent harm, and a self-defense argument is legally valid when you are accused of domestic violence, if you were – indeed – acting in self-defense at the time of your alleged wrongdoing.
With that said, it helps to understand the elements of a self-defense assertion. First, you must reasonably believe you were facing imminent danger. In other words, the threat to your well-being must have been certain to occur, and another reasonable person in a similar situation would have similarly perceived an immediate threat to their safety.
Your response must also be proportional to the level of harm you were facing at the time for a self-defense claim to stand. For instance, your use of force may not be legally justified if you reacted excessively to an otherwise minor threat to your safety.
Self-defense is an affirmative defense
Arguing self-defense involves acknowledging the actions you are accused of but offering a justification or excuse. In legalese, this is referred to as an affirmative defense. It means presenting evidence and convincing the court that your actions were a reasonable response to the perceived threat. Documentation and evidence play a crucial role in supporting a self-defense claim. Previous incidents of violence or threats, police reports, medical records and witness statements can help your case when justifying your use of force.
The particulars of your situation matter
Self-defense may be a valid legal argument when facing domestic violence charges, but it’s not a guaranteed defense. The specific circumstances of your situation will determine whether this defense may apply and hold water in court. Reaching out for legal guidance can help you to build a solid case supported by relevant evidence to increase the chances of a successful outcome.