In Maryland, you have the right to defend yourself from harm, but there are limits. For example, you must use force only as a last resort, and the force used must be appropriate and necessary.
If you are facing an assault charge because you defended yourself against an imminent threat, don’t assume that it’s not a valid charge. It’s important to show that you had a legal right to self-defense. Here are some tips that may help.
Request a medical evaluation
If you didn’t see a doctor or go to a nearby hospital immediately after the incident, it’s important to do so as soon as possible to get a full accounting of any injuries you suffered in the altercation.
Your willingness to seek treatment may help support your claim of self-defense. Further, doctors can often identify defensive wounds you suffered, which could show that your actions were meant only to prevent harm to yourself.
Seek evidence and witnesses
Since it is rare for a physical altercation to go unnoticed, there may be people who saw what happened. The testimony of those who were nearby and witnessed the incident can be critical.
Video evidence can also prove that you acted in self-defense. For example, home or commercial surveillance systems may have recorded the incident.
Adopt a creative approach
Along with video and photographic evidence, defendants should also explore other forms of evidence. Even your social media posts or those of witnesses could help with a self-defense claim. Character statements may also play a role in your defense.
Having experienced legal guidance can help you access and present the evidence needed to present a strong defense.