When faced with a threat and with no option to retreat, even the most mild-mannered person may find themselves in an altercation that they would have otherwise wanted to avoid. Washington residents who are involved in alleged assaults and batteries can sometimes find themselves facing serious criminal charges if the other parties claim that the accused individuals were the aggressors in their attacks. It is therefore possible for crime victims to be charged with criminal accusations for their involvement in protecting themselves and others when assaults and batteries occur.

In such cases it may be possible for individuals to use self-defense as a means of overcoming their legal challenges. In order to plead self-defense, certain elements must be proven and as with all posts included on this blog, readers are advised not to read the information contained herein as legal advice.

The first element that a person may have to prove in their self-defense claim is that they were under threat of harm at the time they allegedly assaulted or battered the accusing party. Self-defense is based on a person’s response to a threat, and therefore if there was no initial threat to them then the defense may not have any validity.

Second, a person may have to prove that they held a true sense of fear due to the threat that was made against them prior to their engagement in self-defense. A threat that is a joke or that could not be believed may not be sufficient to elicit a grounds for self-defense, but all cases must be evaluated on their own merits.

Third, self-defense generally requires that individuals did not have any role in inciting their attackers or that they failed to retreat if the options were available to them. Self-defense is generally what a person must engage in as a last resort and usually may not be pursued if the individual was the reason that the altercation started.

A successful claim of self-defense may release a person from the pending criminal charges lodged against them. However, as presented in this post, self-defense claims must meet certain legal standards and individuals hoping to use it should discuss their options with their criminal defense advocates.