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Is self-defense a good defense against violent crime allegations?

Many people learn self-defense techniques to save their lives if they're attacked. One thing you should know is that if you use self-defense in a situation where your life is in danger, you're unlikely to be accused of violence against another person. However, the force you use has to be reasonable.

You have the right to prevent violence against you and to stop others from hurting you through self-defensive actions. One thing you do need to ask yourself, though, is about the threat itself. Is it imminent? Are you truly in danger? Using force against someone who isn't intending to harm you could result in charges against you for violent acts.

You also have to ask yourself if your fear of harm is reasonable. Is it justified to act out against someone making verbal threats but taking no physical act against you? Is it reasonable to suspect an attack when the other person does not have the means? Your situation needs to be black and white. You need justified fear and a sense of imminent danger to act out in self defense.

You also need to respond with reasonable force. If someone is threatening you with a weapon, using a weapon against him or her is reasonable. Likewise, if you're unable to escape a violent partner or someone who is attempting to kill you, a jury is likely to understand your use of force with a weapon to protect yourself.

You don't have to allow unfounded accusations to be used against you. With a good defense in court, you can prove that you were only defending yourself from violence.

Source: FindLaw, "Self-Defense Overview," accessed April 26, 2018

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