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Can I Claim Self-Defense as a Valid Plea for Criminal Offenses?

Posted on : October 28, 2022
Bail Violations

Can I Claim Self-Defense as a Valid Plea for Criminal Offenses?

Physically assaulting another individual is generally unacceptable conduct. But there is a significant and moral exception to this. You have not committed a crime if it was necessary to harm or murder someone to prevent yourself or another person from harm or death. Every individual has a right to self-defense plea for criminal offenses under the law.

Self-defense laws exist in every state, allowing persons who feel threatened to use appropriate action to protect others while avoiding criminal culpability. However, each state has laws restricting using force in self-defense, and any use against those laws may result in criminal charges.

What is Self-Defense?

Self-defense is the legal right to avoid being subjected to force or violence by using a sufficient amount of opposing force or violence. Although this definition appears straightforward, it raises many issues when applied in actual circumstances. For example, what amount of aggression or force is appropriate when defending oneself?  What if the victim provoked that attack? What happens when victims erroneously believe they are under threat when they are not?

When is Self-Defense a Valid Plea?

Self-defense is legal only when you or another person is in immediate danger from an aggressor, and using force is the only logical course of action. Self-defense is not justifiable by being challenged to a fight or just provoked, and threats that are far away or hypothetical are not self-defense. To claim self-defense, you or another person must be in urgent danger or suffering injuries.

How Much Force is Necessary?

You can protect yourself by using as much force as your assailant or as much force as is neccesary to keep you safe. It is illegal to continue attacking someone backing off or making it clear that they are no longer a threat.

Was Fear of Harm Reasonable?

In some situations, self-defense is appropriate even if the perceived aggressor did not intend to injure the perceived victim. What counts in these cases is whether a reasonable person would have seen an immediate threat of physical injury in identical circumstances.

Lastly, consult an attorney if you need a self-defense claim.


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