Was it Self Defense?

201706.20

Man signaling no with handsWith the bail bonds process, the courts will consider a variety of factors in a defendant’s case in order to determine whether or not to allow bail, and if they do, how high the amount should be.

Repeated offenders and more severe crimes (like murder or sexual assault) are bound to be viewed with less leniency than others. One factor that can have an impact on one’s ability to obtain bail as well as the amount is an argument of self-defense.

Self-defense at a glance

Self-defense is a defense that can be claimed in both criminal and civil cases. Someone arguing self-defense would do so if they needed to make the claim that any sort of physical action against another person was done with the intention of protecting themselves or another party.

Justified use of self-defense

Self-defense is justifiable as a claim only if one can arguing they were legitimately defending themselves or others. A legitimate defense must be equal to the threat or harm coming to the person. One cannot use self-defense as an argument if they attacked someone who seemed suspicious. They also cannot imbalance the proportion between attack and retaliation. If one is suddenly struck across the face, they could reasonably grab hold of their attacker and pin them down until they’ve been reasonably incapacitated. However, they could not cause grave physical harm such as stabbing or breaking bones for a relatively benign attack.

With self-defense, there must be equality. No self-defense claim should be made in a murder case unless it’s provable that the defendant’s life was legitimately at risk during the incident. There also must be a limit to the time of the self-defense. The purpose of self-defense laws is to protect someone in a time of danger, not to allow retaliation after the fact. If someone has been attacked but is now free from danger, they have no right to assault the perpetrator days later.

Self-defense against threats

If a threat of violence is made against a person, self-defense laws give them the right to retaliate before any violence can be inflicted. For instance, if someone says, “I’m going to kill you” and reaches for or displays a gun, the person being threatened has the right to attack them in order to prevent any further action.

Defending others

Even if someone is not being directly threatened, they can still utilize self-defense laws to aid others. Should they witness another person being harmed or threatened, they can exact an equal response against the perpetrator. It is crucial that they are a witness, as an attack committed with no awareness of the situation could be ruled as assault.

Stand your ground laws

In 24 states, there are stand your ground laws. In these laws, anyone who is or believes themselves to be in danger can “stand their ground” by defending themselves and not retreating from the situation. If someone lives in any of the states with this law, they can more successfully argue their claim of self-defense than someone in a state without such laws.

Things to consider

Anyone who is in a position to use what they perceive as self-defense to protect themselves or others should consider the consequences for doing so. If they aren’t careful, they might make rash decisions that negate self-defense and instead make them just as liable as the person attacking them. A defendant in a self-defense case must understand that the other parties may have significantly different stories as to what occurred. The act of self-defense may be efficient in the moment, but it can have consequences if not handled properly.