Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Using self-defense as a defense action against a murder charge

Being accused of a violent crime is a serious situation to be in. The penalties associated with such a crime can be severe, causing a person's present and future to be significantly impacted. Thus, it is vital to understand what can be done to reduce the criminal consequences associated with a violent crime, such as murder or manslaughter. A strong criminal defense could help reduce or even dismiss the charges against a defendant.

Most people associate self-defense as a mechanism to prevent another from causing harm. However, if the harm attempted against another is deadly, the victim of that crime can defend him or herself with deadly force. It is essentially universally accepted that a person may protect him or herself from harm under the appropriate circumstances. This is true even when such conduct or behavior would usually constitute a crime.

Self-defense is a viable defense action, even when a person is accused of a violent crime. In simple terms, self-defense is defined as a person's right to prevent suffering from or violence by using a sufficient level of counteracting force or violence. However, based on the situation, there are times when self-defense is not properly applied. Therefore, defendants need to be aware of the circumstances of the situation, as it can help them prove they lawfully used self-defense in the matter.

Generally, self-defense can only apply when the threat is imminent. This act is justified only when the use of force is in response to an immediate threat. The threat does not need to be physical and can be verbal. The threat just needs to put the intended victim in immediate fear of physical harm.

Asserting a self-defense defense action can be a complex matter. Therefore, it is vital for defendants to understand how this defense strategy applies to their situation and what options they have to clear their name and avoid harsh criminal penalties.

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