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Assault and battery charges: When can you claim self-defense?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2022 | Criminal law

If you are facing assault charges, pleading self-defense seems like the most obvious thing to do. After all, you have a right to defend yourself in the face of imminent danger. However, you ought to know about other aspects of a self-defense plea beforehand.

Two main factors will likely stand out in your case:

1. Were you in immediate danger?

There is a thin line between self-defense and a retaliatory attack. For a permissible self-defense plea, you have to show that you were in danger at the time. You must have been responding to an on-the-spot threat to your safety. If your attack came later after the threat had ended, it would be considered an act of retaliation.

2. Did you use excessive force?

Normally, the amount of force used should equal the threat or danger you were facing. Therefore, your self-defense plea is not likely to stand if you overreacted with excessive force compared to the risk you were facing. For instance, you may be allowed to use deadly force on a person who only shoved you.

In North Carolina, justifiable use of force is recognized by law which means that if you prove self-defense, you cannot be found guilty.

Proving self-defense in your case

The prosecution likely has its own version of events regarding your charges, and it is their word against yours in a court of law. However, self-defense is a valid excuse, at times, for violence — and it may be a valid way to justify your actions