A domestic violence conviction is something that will follow you for years to come. Beyond a possible jail term, it can shape how others perceive you — as a violent and aggressive person.
Therefore, it helps to present a strong defense that will reduce the chances of a conviction. Claiming self-defense is among the strategies you can employ. But how feasible is it against a domestic violence charge? Here is what you need to know.
You have a right to defend yourself from danger
Everyone has a right to defend themselves in the face of imminent danger. Your partner may have been getting physical with you, and you responded in your defense. It is well within your rights to do so. However, your self-defense claim must meet the necessary threshold to affect the charges you face.
The elements of self-defense
By claiming self-defense, you are not denying that you caused the other person physical harm. However, you assert that you only did so to protect yourself. Whether or not such a defense will hold water depends on several things.
First, you must have been in obvious danger at the time you acted in self-defense, and your reaction must have been immediate. If you reacted before or after the danger, it cannot be considered self-defense. In addition, you must have used force that is appropriate to the level of threat you were facing. Responding to a minor attack with excessive force is not self-defense.
There is also the issue of who provoked the attack, or if one party withdrew and the other continued with the attack. Other evidence such as defensive wounds or a history of abuse can lend credence to your self-defense assertion.
Your defense counsel is crucial
Arguing self-defense in court is never easy, especially against a strong prosecution. Therefore, it is best to seek experienced legal representation to protect your interests and present your case.