The “Self Defense” Defense

If someone was trying to harm you and you defended yourself in the only way that made sense (by harming the other person), should you be worried that you will go to jail? In many cases, you may find that you have criminal charges placed against you after harming someone else when you know that it was done in self-defense. When this is the case, what can you do? Should you accept the charges or try to represent yourself in court and hope that the court sees your side of the story? No. 

The best thing you can do under these circumstances is to have a San Francisco, CA criminal defense firm like The Morales Law Firm on your side who can help gather evidence and who can show that you used a reasonable amount of force to stay safe. 

Facing Criminal Charges

You are probably surprised that you are facing criminal charges when someone else attacked you or threatened to hurt you. However, just because you are facing criminal charges does not mean you have to accept them. The law recognizes that in certain circumstances, people may need to use self-defense techniques to protect themselves against someone who is threatening to hurt them or who is attempting to hurt them. You should not have to be worried when someone attacks you that you will go to jail for using self-defense techniques. It all comes down to whether the self-defense you used is considered reasonable. 

Threat of Harm

For you to appropriately use self-defense, there must be a threat of harm and it must be immediate. If someone comes up to you and says that at some point in the vague future you should expect to be hurt or attacked, attacking that person would not qualify as self-defense. Further, if someone is taunting you or verbally teasing you but not threatening you in a way that makes you feel that your life is in danger immediately, this would also not be a situation where self-defense is justified. There must be a reasonable fear of harm and a belief that the person is going to follow up on their words or actions at the moment. If they are incapable of actually harming you, there is likely not a reasonable fear of harm. 

If you used self-defense against someone and are facing criminal charges for it, please contact a trusted assault & battery lawyer to get a better understanding of your legal options.