Situations involving domestic violence are deeply traumatic and emotionally draining. The matter can become even more complicated when you have responded with force to a serious threat to your safety to defend yourself or someone else.
You might be wondering what your rights are if you acted in self-defense and got arrested for domestic violence. Joseph D. Lento and the Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm have years of experience and are ready to help.
Acting In Self Defense
Pennsylvania statute says you can use force against someone if you're defending yourself or someone else. However, the incident must meet several criteria to be considered self-defense.
First, you must prove that you only used force to protect yourself or another person from an immediate threat. This means you'll have to show that you or the person you were defending did not have a chance to retreat or safely exit the situation.
You'll also have to prove that you acted “reasonably.” In other words, you'll have to show that your actions made sense given the circumstances. This means demonstrating that you acted proportionately to the threat you faced. For instance, if you responded to name-calling with a physical assault, the courts are unlikely to view your actions as self-defense.
If you're arrested for domestic violence, your self-defense claim must satisfy all the criteria laid out by the PA legal code. Otherwise, a prosecutor might be able to convict you of a crime, even if you believe that your actions were purely motivated by self-defense.
When It's Not Self Defense
There are instances in which an individual's use of force against someone else will not be considered self-defense.
For instance, if you could have used non-lethal force, but instead used deadly force, this would not be seen as proportionate and, therefore will not count as self-defense.
If you provoked the other person's use of force against you, or what you believed to be their imminent use of force, you will also not be seen as having acted in self-defense. You cannot have instigated the violence; you can only have acted in response to it. If there's proof that you acted violently first, your self-defense claim will not hold.
Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team can help determine what counts as self-defense in a domestic violence situation.
What Kind Of Evidence Can Be Used To Prove Self Defense?
To prove that the intent behind your actions was to protect yourself or another person, you'll have to provide evidence showing you were under immediate threat and that you acted reasonably. This can include eyewitness testimony, photos of your injuries, or threatening emails, voicemails, or text messages from the assailant.
Contact Attorney Joseph Lento And His Experienced Team Today
Proving self-defense requires meeting the criteria highlighted above. If you were arrested for domestic violence when you were only trying to defend yourself or someone else, call attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm or contact us online.
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