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What you should know about self-defense

Oct 18, 2022 | Violent Crimes

When you are facing a criminal charge for battery, you need to explore every possible defense. If you were defending yourself or your property at the time of an alleged battery, your actions may have been justifiable in the eyes of the law.

Here are some important things that you should know about claiming self-defense to defeat criminal charges.

When can you defend yourself against violence?

Defendants claiming self-defense must have perceived imminent harm or unlawful physical contact. It is not necessary to sustain an injury before acting in self-defense. A verbal threat or menacing physical behavior could be sufficient to justify a defensive response.

What type of force can you use?

The force that a person uses to defend himself must be reasonable. Responding to a slap with a deadly weapon would probably amount to an unreasonable use of force.

The analysis of whether force was reasonable is subjective and merits a case-by-case evaluation. For example, individuals with a small build or a disability may be within their legal rights to use a weapon in self-defense against an unarmed assailant who is much larger and stronger.

Can you use force to protect your property?

California’s statutory law gives you the right to defend yourself and your property against trespassers. The presence of an intruder triggers this right regardless of whether an intruder attempted to harm you.

By raising a valid claim of self-defense, it may be possible to get a dismissal or a judgment in your favor.