Someone accused of a violent criminal offense will want to look at all of their options before entering a guilty plea. Some people have an airtight alibi that can eventually convince the courts that they were not present at the scene of a crime. Other people will find different solutions in the hope of raising a reasonable doubt about whether they were involved in the crime.
Some individuals facing allegations related to physical violence, including homicide and assault, will have very strong evidence connecting them to an incident. They may have admitted their involvement, or there could even be security camera footage. In some situations, those accused of violent crimes in Missouri can defend themselves by mounting a claim that they acted in self-defense.
When is making a claim of self-defense a viable strategy for those facing criminal charges?
When they feared for their personal safety
If someone else made you feel like they intended to harm you, you have the right to fight back. Especially if they put their hands on you, using physical force to protect yourself from an imminent threat of assault or worse is legally permissible. Those who can convince a jury that they had a reasonable fear for their own safety may have grounds to claim that they acted in self-defense.
When their property was at risk
If someone yanks open the door to your vehicle and threatens you with a knife or tries to physically pull you out, you could use physical force to stop their attempted theft of your vehicle. People may also use physical violence to defend themselves if someone has unlawfully entered their home with seemingly criminal intentions.
When someone else faces a criminal attack
You don’t have to sit by and watch someone assault your spouse, nor do you have to call for emergency services on your mobile phone and then wait quietly if you encounter a strong-arm robbery in progress at your local convenience store. Members of the public who act to protect someone else from an act of violence or another crime can potentially defend themselves against resulting criminal charges by showing that they acted to stop a crime rather than with the intent to commit one.
Learning more about self-defense claims and other affirmative defense strategies can help those facing charges related to physical violence.