In almost any context, disagreements can escalate from differences of opinion into serious conflicts. When this happens, most individuals are able to deescalate their anxieties and move on without confronting those who oppose them. In some situations, problems cannot be resolved, and conflicts become potentially violent encounters that may result in injuries or death.
When a New Jersey resident is faced with a potentially dangerous aggressor, they should know that they have some rights to use self-defense to protect themselves. This post will discuss how and when self-defense may be used, but no part of this post should be read as legal advice. If an individual finds themselves charged with assault after using self-defense, they can benefit from speaking to a criminal defense attorney about their options under the law.
Urgency and proportionality
Self-defense may be an option for an individual when they must act immediately to prevent injury or death. If a person is not under an immediate threat of danger, they generally cannot employ self-defense tactics to protect themselves. They may have other options to remove themselves from the dangerous situation that do not require self-defense.
Similarly, an individual may not use a form of self-defense that exceeds the level of threat they face. For example, if a person is threatened with an aggressor’s fists, they may not be allowed to use a firearm against their aggressor. Proportionality in the form of defense as well as urgency are important factors when considering if self-defense is appropriate.
There is no guarantee under the law that a claim of self-defense will exonerate an individual charged with assault period to build a case for self-defense, a defendant must show evidence and facts that support their claims and refute those made by prosecutors. Doing so can be a difficult challenge, but with the help of a trusted criminal defense attorney, an assault defendant may be able to successfully plead self-defense to mitigate or eliminate their criminal charges.