Criminal charges are nothing to take lightly. If you or a loved one face assault charges, it is important to understand what the charges and process entail.
You want to have a solid defense, and if you can prove you were protecting yourself or others, it may significantly help your case. There are a few key factors to know to have a chance at successfully arguing a self-defense claim.
By definition, self-defense is the use a reasonable amount of force to protect oneself or a loved one from apparent harm or danger. It is also important to understand the term in accordance with the law in the state the plaintiff files the charges. Title 16 of South Carolina law details offenses against person and property, as well as the rights individuals have to defend themselves, their families, and their belongings.
To successfully argue self-defense, an individual must prove four things. In short, those elements are:
- The defendant did not start or provoke the situation.
- The defendant was in imminent danger or had reasonable belief of serious injury.
- Other parties would make the same assessment of the situation.
- The defendant could not avoid the danger.
This is not always easy to prove, especially if neither party has any witnesses. For this reason, it can be very beneficial to secure an attorney to aid in arguing a self-defense claim.
Reasons for denial
There are a couple reasons self-defense claims are commonly denied in assault cases. If the scenario does not prove immediate threatening, then one might assume the defendant could get away and avoid confrontation, therefore, self-defense may not apply. If the threat is not avoidable but the defendant uses excessive force or aggression, a self-defense claim may not stand in that case either.
Understanding these factors and arguing your self-defense claim accordingly may be critical to your case. Take some time to fully understand your rights and to determine the best course of action.