Is Domestic Violence a Form of Self-Defense?
Depending on the circumstances, a person arrested for domestic violence may have been lawfully acting in self-defense. Domestic violence victims are usually terrified for their safety. Fortunately, everybody has the right to protect themselves from any kind of harm under the right circumstances, even if their actions would typically be considered a crime.
In some cases, domestic violence victims may have no choice but to stand their ground and defend themselves against an aggressor intending to hurt them. Sometimes the police get it wrong and arrest the real victim of the incident. Unfortunately, proving self-defense when you’ve been accused of domestic violence is immensely challenging and will require an in-depth understanding and application of self-defense and domestic violence laws.
How Can You Prove Self-Defense in a Domestic Violence Case?
Self-defense is a human right. You can exercise that right to prevent getting hurt by responding to the threat reasonably. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, you can’t be convicted unless the State can prove you did not act in self-defense. As a practical matter, a judge or jury will still expect the person charged to prove they were acting in self-defense, even though the burden of proof is actually the other way around. Proving this is usually not easy. You must prove the following elements if you are claiming self-defense:
- You reasonably believed that you were in immediate danger of getting physically injured.
- You reasonably believed that using force against the threat was necessary to prevent yourself from getting hurt.
- You exerted a reasonable amount of force to protect yourself.
When a judge is assessing whether your beliefs were truly reasonable, they will take into account the facts of the situation. They do this to determine whether a reasonable individual with the same knowledge under the same circumstances would’ve believed what you believed. Note that if the judge deems your belief, provided the situation, was reasonable, it doesn’t matter whether or not you were actually injured during the incident.
Why is Proving Self-Defense in a Domestic Violence Case Difficult?
A jury will be instructed you must meet all the elements of self defense in order to be found not guilty. Juries also usually side with the prosecution, particularly in cases where the defendant is obviously physically stronger than the other person involved in the case. With this in mind, it is imperative that you reach out to our experienced Nashville domestic violence defense attorney as soon as you get arrested for domestic violence. They will promptly investigate your case and find evidence to demonstrate that you were acting in self-defense.
Seek Legal Advice From a Nashville Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Today
If you’ve been accused of or arrested for domestic violence, get in touch with the Nashville domestic violence defense attorney at Raybin & Weissman right away to learn what we can do for you. We have defended many people against unfair domestic violence allegations, and we have the resources and experience to help you avoid a conviction. To explore your legal options and arrange your free case evaluation with our Nashville domestic violence defense attorney, dial 615-256-6666 or fill out our online form.