Personal Attention.
Aggressive Defense.

Photo of Thomas C. Mooney

What are the elements of self-defense?

On Behalf of | May 11, 2022 | Violent crimes

You were out having a great time with friends at your local joint when someone suddenly attacked you. First, they threw a punch at you. And then, they knocked you down and continued attacking you. You were finally able to regroup and fend the attacker off. Next, you learn that the person who attacked you is suing you for a broken tooth among other damages. How do you respond to this?

Well, one of your defense options would be that you acted in self-defense. Self-defense is a legal provision that allows Maryland residents to apply reasonable force to protect themselves or someone else from imminent danger of death or bodily harm. Self-defense also refers to an individual’s right to protect property. It is a common defense when facing battery, assault or homicide charges.

Here are three things you need to prove when arguing self-defense in a criminal charge.

There must be an imminent threat of harm

You can only argue self-defense when the threat in question is imminent and immediate. For instance, if you are caught up in a fight, you cannot leave the scene of the assault, plot your revenge and arm yourself, then return and kill the initial aggressor on grounds of self-defense. Also, you cannot argue self-defense for a threat that you suspect will materialize in the future.

Your assessment of danger must be reasonable

Your assessment of imminent danger of death or bodily harm must be reasonable. Meaning, any right-thinking person in your position would deem the threat considerably dangerous to make them believe they are likely to suffer bodily harm or even death.

The use of force must be proportionate

You cannot claim self-defense after using force that is not proportionate to the one used by the aggressor. For instance, you cannot fire a weapon in response to a slap. This would be a non-proportionate force.

Being accused of assault or murder is a big deal. Find out how you can safeguard your rights while arguing self-defense in your criminal case.