Self-Defense Criminal Law
Every state has self-defense laws that allow individuals who are threatened to utilize reasonable force to defend themselves or others and to escape criminal liability for their utilization of force. However, each state has its specific rules that govern the use of force in self-defense, and using force beyond the bounds of the laws of the state can lead to a criminal conviction. For instance, In New Jersey, an individual who is attacked can fight back, but might not essentially utilize deadly force. If you have been accused of violent crime, a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer can help you in protecting your rights.
Normally, self-defense claims only apply when the defendant is accused of a violent crime such as murder, manslaughter, battery, or assault. Individuals who claim self-defense accept that they used force against the victim, but they claim that they did so because the victim attacked them and had to act to defend themselves from being hurt, and the extent of force they utilized was proportional to the threat posed. The primary issue in a self-defense claim is who started the confrontation and whether the response of the defendant was necessary and equivalent to the threat presented by the attacker.
Who started it?
In general, you cannot claim self-defense if you are the one who started the confrontation, although there are some exclusions. For instance, imagine a husband and wife gets into a quarrel, the wife slaps the man, and he reacts by trying to stab her. The wife seizes the knife from the husband and utilizes it in self-defense. In such a case, the wife can still successfully claim self-defense – although she was not completely innocent – since the man highly intensified the utilization of force. The husband, on the other hand, will not be able to make a good self-defense claim because his retaliation was disparate.
Was the reaction reasonable?
The amount of reasonable force depends on the circumstances. The most crucial circumstance is the amount of force the victim is utilizing. A defendant who uses more force than necessary to protect him or herself or others can still be liable for a crime, like a husband in the example above.
What type of evidence supports self-defense?
The most crucial evidence to present in substantiation of a self-defense case is the one that shows that the defendant did not initiate the fight and reacted with a reasonable amount of force. Self-defense is, at times, referred to as a positive defense since the defendant might be required to present evidence to support the claim. At times, the defendant can also give evidence that the victim was liable for violence or had attacked the defendant or another victim in the past.
Getting legal assistance
If you are accused of a crime of violence against another party, and you believe you acted in self-defense, you should consult an experienced attorney who is familiar with Self-defense criminal law in your state. The Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC, can investigate your claim and determine whether the evidence supports a self-defense claim according to New Jersey state laws. We can help you protect your rights and get the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today for more information regarding your case.