Claiming self-defense is common among most people facing assault and battery charges. The law allows you to defend yourself, your property and your family members in the face of imminent harm.
However, for your self-defense claim to stand, it must meet the legal threshold required. Otherwise, your actions may amount to assault, and you may have to deal with the legal consequences. Here is what you need to know about a self-defense claim if you are charged with assault in South Carolina.
The threat must be immediate and reasonable
Would another reasonable person perceive danger or threat of harm? You must have sufficient grounds to claim the use of force in self-defense. A verbal attack, in most cases, is not enough to warrant the use of force.
Your response to the threat matters
To claim self-defense, you must have reacted at the precise moment the attack or threat happened. If you react a while later, your actions can be considered retaliatory rather than defensive.
In addition, your use of physical force should only last as long as the threat of attack. For instance, if you immobilize the attacker and the threat no longer exists, you cannot claim you were acting in self-defense.
Your actions must be relative to the level of threat
Your use of force in reaction to the perceived danger or threat should not be excessive. A self-defense claim could fall apart if there was a minimal threat and the risk to your well-being low, but you used deadly force to defend yourself.
Preparing your defense against assault charges
A conviction for assault and battery charges means a criminal record and other legal penalties. Therefore, it is advisable to mount a serious defense that will increase your chances of a desirable outcome. Understanding the nuances involved and how the criminal justice system works is crucial when facing violent crime charges. If you’re facing charges, call an experienced criminal defense attorney.