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Is self-defense justified in a domestic violence case?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Domestic Violence |

If you are charged with domestic violence, can you argue you were acting in self-defense? The short answer is yes. The law allows you to protect yourself from harm, even in situations where your spouse or partner is the aggressor.

That said, claiming self-defense is subject to specific legal considerations. The circumstances of your situation will determine whether a self-defense argument may hold water in a domestic violence case. Here is what you need to know.

The elements of self-defense

You must demonstrate that your actions were justifiable when claiming self-defense. It means proving that you had a reasonable fear that the threat of injury or death was likely to occur and you only acted to protect yourself.

Your use of force must also have been proportional to the level of threat you were facing. In other words, you should not use excessive or deadly force against a minor threat to your well-being. 

Lastly, a self-defense claim may not stand in a domestic violence case if you provoked the attack. However, if you were the initial aggressor but withdrew and communicated your intent to do so, you can act in self-defense if the other party continues the attack.

Present a solid case

To effectively argue self-defense, it’s crucial to present a compelling argument to justify your actions. Document the incident while the details are still fresh, and gather evidence in your support. This may include witness statements, medical records, photographs of injuries and any other relevant documentation that could help your case. 

It is equally prudent to seek legal guidance as soon as possible to prepare your defense and represent your interests. Remember, there may be legal technicalities you may need to get around to successfully argue self-defense and increase the chances of a favorable outcome for your case.