If you are accused of a violent crime, one of the best defense options might be to prove that you were acting to defend yourself or another party. However, note that just because you believed that you were in danger does not mean you have the legal right to violence. Read on to learn about some of the nuances of this defense and contact Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre at 800-572-1252 for a free legal consultation with a respected criminal defense attorney.
The Difference in Defense and Assault
It is legal to defend yourself in California, as long as the way in which you defended yourself is found to be “reasonable under the circumstances” as determined by the courts. For example, if someone threw a tomato at your leg, this would not be an excuse to use deadly force against them. On the other hand, if they had a firearm then you would likely be legally excused from using lethal force.
Circumstances Under Which You Can Legally Defend Yourself
In order for your actions to be considered self-defense, the courts must find that it was reasonable for you to use force. This requires immediate danger of being robbed, killed, injured, or sexually assaulted, or someone near you was. It must be shown that the danger needed to be resisted with force, and the courts must agree that you only used reasonable force compared to the risk you were in.
Self-Defense Does Not Protect You After the Threat is Over
It is important to know that if you are attacked and face a real threat, and then use force to defend yourself, you must stop when they are subdued or no longer a threat. For example, if you punch someone who is attacking you and they are rendered unconscious, you cannot continue to attack or assault them. If you do, you could be charged with assault or battery.
Evidence Needed to Prove You Are Not Guilty by Reason of Self-Defense
It is common for a person to use self-defense as a defense against being charged with a violent offense such as assault. It is reasonable to stand your ground and defend yourself or loved ones if someone is putting them at risk. Unfortunately, sometimes it might come down to your word against the word of the attacker – did you start it or did they?
In this case, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help the judge and/or jury see that you were defending yourself. This might be done via character witnesses, evidence found at the scene, surveillance footage, and other methods. Remember that the state must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Do not wait to contact Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre at 800-572-1252. The sooner we get started, the better your chances are.