Can You Go To Jail For Self-Defense?
August 23, 2021

Can You Go To Jail For Self-Defense?

Everyone has the fundamental right to defend himself. Many people use "self-defense" as a justification for unwarranted aggression that can lead to criminal penalties.

You may wonder if one can prove self-defense without a lawyer. Knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers have an answer to that question - "Yes and No."

It's all Circumstantial

Your Constitutional right of life includes the right of "security of person." This means that you have the right of protection from undue injury. This legal right allows you to defend yourself against harm from others, including assault and battery, domestic violence, or domestic violence.

Depending on the circumstances, self-defense rights can even extend to attempts to stop destruction or theft of property, or to protecting others in danger.

No one is Jailed for "Self-Defense."

Your Constitutional right of life includes the right of "security of person," which is the right you have to defend yourself against undue harm. This legal right allows you to defend yourself against harm from others, including assault and battery, domestic violence, or domestic violence.

So, if everyone has the right to self-defense, why are there so many stories about people being arrested for self-defense?

Although it may seem strange, law enforcement never actually jails a person for self-defense. The usual procedure for investigating a crime involves a criminal investigation.

Officers have a duty of arresting anyone suspected of committing criminal violations. All officers will look for two people fighting when responding to calls involving violence or self-defense. They could accuse both of them of assault and battery even though one is acting in self-defense. If there is clear and immediate evidence that one party was acting in self-defense, the police officer must arrest them both.

If a person is being taken back to the station, they have the option to try to convince the police they are acting in self-defense. If they are successful, the law might release that person without being charged

Self-Defense is a Right that You Have

You have the right to defend yourself from aggression (and threats to aggression) by another person, particularly if you believe you are at immediate risk of being hurt through the fulfillment of such threats.

For example, if someone runs towards you with a knife or points a gun at your face, or if you have reason to believe that they are trying to harm you in any way, it may be appropriate to use proportionate force to stop the threat and deter your aggressor. The circumstances in which you find yourself are a major factor in whether an aggressive act of self-defense is justified.

Several reasons that the law might determine you were entitled to self-defense include:

Immediate Danger

The law protects your right to self-defense if you feel the threat is imminent. Defense is only justified if verbal threats are made in conjunction with physical threats. Once there is no threat, self-defense rights cease.

Reasonable Fear

If any other person could have acted in the same manner as the victim, even if they are believed to have assaulted him, then self-defense is acceptable.

The circumstances and specific circumstances of self-defense will determine what is reasonable. A legal professional who has experience in defending self-defense can help you prove that your actions were reasonable considering the circumstances.

Equivalent Response

Self-defense must match the level of threat. The person cannot use more force than necessary to end the threat. Self-defense that causes more harm than what the threat would have done is not justified.

When you have to Stand your Ground and Not Retreat from Duty

Certain states require that you try to flee from the threat before resorting to force to defend yourself. This is called the "Duty of Retreat". In court, you will need to prove that you tried to flee the situation before you can defend yourself. Even if you fail to flee, an attempt at fleeing is acceptable in these cases. It can be difficult to prove this, especially if you don't have sound legal representation.

Some states, however, do not believe in the "Duty to Retire" and instead have the "Stand Your Ground” law. "Stand Your Ground," which is a law that is used in many US states, allows you to assert self-defense even though you have not tried to flee.

To Make a Claim of Self-defense, you Need to Provide Evidence

In the state of Florida, if there is sufficient evidence to support the claim, the defendant can request jury instruction about self-defense. Even if the state does not present any evidence, self-defense can be inferred without the defense witness or the defendant ever appearing on the stand.

If there is no evidence of self-defense, the jury will not receive self-defense instructions. The defendant's closing argument will only be used to challenge the evidence and deny that the incident occurred (assuming no other defenses were presented). If a defendant testifies at trial and claims that he acted in anger when the victim left, then he or she will not be eligible for self-defense instruction. 

Self-defense is not possible if the evidence shows that the defendant provoked violence against himself. 

An attorney who specializes in self-defense may be able to help you prove your right to self-defense.