Unfortunately some situations involving violence or assault may become so out of hand that both parties persue actions towards each other as a means of defense. In criminal law, an individual may try to make a self- defense claim, but it is not always justified. Usually the person claiming self-defense is being accused as someone who has committed a violent crime like assault, battery, manslaughter, or even murder.
We see cases like this arise more and more everyday. There are always incidents where someone is unfortunately shot to death, and the shooter in the crime may claim that this action is justified because they were defending themselves. Often a question the court will want to know is if that person perceived as a threat was armed or not. This can make all the difference in a court case, as well as who made the first move of violent action.
We even see situations in which someone who may have been abused for a while takes action is some instance against their attacker. The question now arises, "was this person's life in danger or not?" The Battered Woman's Defense is being allowed in courts as a defense in situations like these.
In situations like this, it all depends on the degree of harm being done to the individual. You have to prove that using force was absolutely necessary. If force was not used in that situation it could have potentially brought harm to your body or even death. This is exactly what you are trying to prove in court. You must show that fear essentially lead to this action, which was an action that anyone else would have done if they were in the same situation.
In certain states the law requires the individual to try to run from the situation rather than fight back. If you choose to fight back in a state with a law like this, then your claim may not be valid.
In other states, they follow the Model Penal Code. This suggests legal crimes, punishments, and definitions. Some states follow these standards, while others use some of it or modify it before making law. The court will determine if your actions are justified as a crime or as defense. In order for a person to act unlawful towards an individual as a means of protecting themselves, the other person in question must have first used unlawful actions toward that individual. The only way you can claim defense is if someone's actions towards you were first unlawful and could do damage to your well-being.
There is often a question if deadly force was needed in a situation as a way to keep oneself safe. Stand your ground is a law term that basically allows a person that was attacked to use the same force back. If you are in a situation where you are claiming self-defense, you definitely want to use whatever evidence that you can that shows that you did not initiate the fight. You also want to make sure you get an attorney. A professional can help defend you in court, and protect your rights.
Source: Legal Zoom