When people are in a situation in which they must protect themselves, it may result in injury to the party that they are protecting themselves against. If the injured party seeks legal restitution, it may be necessary for the accused to protect themselves again by means of the court.
In such instances, it is important to develop a strong self-defense claim to hopefully avoid possible criminal charges. There are a few things to know in order to build a successful case.
In short, self-defense is the defense of a person or that person’s loved one against harm or danger, using a reasonable amount of force. Along with the general definition, each state has its own interpretation of what qualifies as self-defense. For this reason, it is important that defendants become accustomed with the law according to their state.
Just being able to show that the party was not the initial aggressor is not enough information to support a self-defense claim. In fact, there are certain instances when courts may deny such claims. For instance, if the court finds that a party used excessive force, the action may cross from defense to assaulting the person. Also, if the claimant can show that the defendant had the means to avoid further confrontation, the court may deny the claim in such instances.
One way to try to avoid a claim denial is to build a solid case. Particularly regarding self-defense claims, there are four main proof points defendants may present:
- The defendant did not provoke or start the altercation
- There was an imminent danger or a reasonable assumption of serious injury
- Prudent individuals in the same situation would make the same assessment
- Danger was unavoidable
Defendants who can successfully prove all four points may strengthen their case. They may also wish to prepare to discredit any rebuttals to the claims.
Proper evidence can be quite beneficial in building a strong claim. Obtaining eye whitness testimony, if possible, may also be quite helpful.