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Claiming self-defense does not always work


If you have been charged with assault and battery, it most likely means you physically injured the other person. Claiming that you were only acting in self-defense sounds like a good defense, but it does not always guarantee success.

It all boils down to the unique circumstances of your case. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Were you in imminent danger?
  • How did you react to the threat?
  • Would a reasonable person have reacted similarly?
  • Did you have a duty to retreat?

The answers to these questions may affect the viability of your self-defense claim.

When does self-defense apply?

Self-defense only applies if you or your family were in imminent danger or risk at the time. You cannot claim to have been defending yourself if you were not responding to an immediate threat. In addition, the fear of harm must be reasonable to justify the use of force.

Your response must also be proportional to the threat. If you used excessive force to react to a minimal threat, your self-defense claim might not stand. For example, if someone verbally threatens to beat you up and you respond by inflicting serious injuries on them, you cannot be said to have been acting to defend yourself.

Notably, you do not have a duty to retreat under California’s castle doctrine law. The use of deadly force against an intruder in your residence is allowed if you reasonably believe that you or other household members are in grave danger.

What’s the best defense against assault and battery charges?

Self-defense is among the many options at your disposal when going against your charges. However, there is no ‘best defense’ since it all depends on the particulars of your case.

To increase your chances of a successful outcome, you need a well-crafted defense strategy tailored to your case and the knowledge of how everything works in the judicial process.

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