What can you do when someone puts you in a dangerous situation or threatens you? In most cases, your instincts will be to fight back.
While you may know you have the right to defend yourself against harm, it does not always prevent you from facing assault charges. However, there are various reasons why you may be able to claim self-defense.
Another person put you in immediate danger
Your actions are justified if you recognize an immediate threat. The instigator has to be close enough to harm you. He or she must have the ability to cause you harm at that moment. For example, if a person threatens you over the phone, you cannot show up at his or her house to strike preemptively. If the instigator happens to be significantly smaller than you, it is still self-defense if he or she has a weapon.
You felt your actions were reasonable
If others heard your story, would they think you took reasonable action? It is self-defense if you need to protect the immediate health of yourself or another person. You have every right to protect your family, children and your property. Keep in mind that self-defense includes any action that stops the imminent threat. It is more challenging to claim self-defense if you continue to cause harm to another person after taking care of the initial threat.
To show self-defense, you may need to show medical evidence of defensive wounds, testimony from eyewitnesses or an admission from your accuser that he or she attacked first.