When Is Self Defense Justified in a Domestic Violence Case?



Victims of domestic violence sometimes have no other option but to defend themselves against an advisory intending to cause harm to them or their loved ones. However, proving self-defense was necessary can often be a complicated matter. In general, domestic violence cases are challenging, often involving a lot of investigation and legal work. Victims can often be frightened, not just for their safety, but for their lives and freedom. Fortunately, it’s a universally accepted principle that people may protect themselves from harm under appropriate circumstances, even if the behavior would normally constitute a crime.

Understanding Self-Defense

Self-defense is the right to prevent suffering from violence through a sufficient level of counteracting the violence. However, defending self-defense in individual cases is hardly ever a straightforward process and requires extensive knowledge and understanding of self-defense law.

Immediate Threat Self-Defense

Generally, self-defense is only justifiable when responding to an immediate threat. The threat may be verbal if it puts the victim in immediate fear of physical harm. However, offensive words without an accompanying threat of immediate physical harm do not justify using force in self-defense. Furthermore, the use of self-defense is lost as a justification once the threat has ended. Any force used by the victim against the assailant after they are no longer in danger would be considered retaliatory and not self-defense.

Reasonable Fear of Harm

In some cases, self-defense is justified even if the perceived aggressor didn’t actually mean the victim any harm. The important fact in these situations is whether a reasonable person in the same situation would have perceived an immediate threat of physical harm. Legally, the concept of a reasonable person is subject to interpretations in practice but is the best tool in the legal system to determine whether a person’s perception of imminent danger is justified in their use of protective force.

Proving Self-Defense in Domestic Violence Situation

Determining whether the victim in a domestic violence situation was justified can be complicated. Self-defense requires admitting you harmed the assailant and then convincing the jury you were in danger. The attorney prosecuting your case may have police officers on record who accuse you of inflicting harm to the other party. A criminal defense attorney will need to prove the other party resorted to violence first and you reacted to protect yourself or a loved one. They will need to collect evidence and build a strong defense to prove you acted in self-defense. This evidence may include:

  • Your assailant admitting to the police they used violence
  • Your assailant admitting to someone they acted first
  • Testimony from eyewitnesses
  • Documentation of defensive wounds you suffered
  • Illustrating how the assailant wounds indicate you acted in self-defense

In a self-defense case, you will need a trusted and experienced attorney. Every domestic violence case is different and legal strategies that work for one situation may not work in your circumstances. For this reason, it’s beneficial to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney who will review your case and determine the best possible strategy to achieve the most favorable outcome.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney at Fighter Law in Florida

Domestic violence situations are never easy, and defending yourself or your loved one should not place you in danger of prosecution. At Fighter Law, we are dedicated to fighting for our client’s rights. Our skilled and experienced legal team has a superb reputation for developing a strong defense for our clients and protecting their rights. Additionally, Attorney Thomas Feiter is Board Certified and one of the leading criminal defense attorneys in Central Florida. Schedule a consultation to discuss your situation by calling (407) 344-4837 or filling out our contact form.

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