Everybody has the right to defend themselves and protect themselves from harm. However, proving that an action was taken in self-defense is a complicated legal undertaking. If you or a loved one were charged with assault, battery, aggravated assault, or aggravated battery for acting in self-defense, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure what to do next.
One of the first steps you should take if you are accused of any violent crime is to secure legal counsel. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to evaluate your specific case and help you determine the next steps.
What Counts as Self-Defense?
If you were involved in a physical altercation, you might find yourself facing criminal charges for assault or a related offense. Depending on the severity of the offense, a conviction can lead to life-changing consequences, including jail time and a permanent criminal record.
Self-defense is an affirmative defense against criminal charges, meaning the defendant admits that he or she took the alleged action, but asserts that there was a valid reason for doing so. For example, you may have pushed away an attacker who was trying to seriously injure you.
However, in order to be considered self-defense, the following criteria must be met:
There was an imminent threat of unlawful harm to yourself, a loved one, or your property.
You believed that the use of force was necessary to prevent the harm.
You used a degree of force that was appropriate for the situation.
What is Reasonable Force?
In many criminal cases, the question of whether a person acted in self-defense or not comes down to the severity of the force he or she used against the other person and whether it was justifiable. For example, consider a bar fight in which one individual pushes another person, causing him to stumble backward. If the person who was pushed pulls out a firearm and shoots the aggressor, his chances of successfully claiming self-defense are slim. The reaction must be in proportion to the original threat or danger. However, if the aggressor had already shot and killed another individual, the use of a firearm may be justifiable.
These examples are very simplified, and criminal cases are never this straightforward in real life. This is why it is so important to work with a criminal defense attorney with experience in these types of cases.
Contact our DuPage County Assault Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one have been charged with aggravated assault or another criminal offense after acting in self-defense, contact our skilled Wheaton criminal defense attorneys for help. Call [[title]] at [[phone]] for a free, private consultation.