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Self-defense may be your best defense

While every criminal allegation has the potential to jeopardize your future, charges involving violent crimes are among the most damaging. If you are accused of battery, manslaughter or murder, you can expect that the prosecution will be aggressive in seeking conviction, so you will want to be aggressive in defending yourself.

This will involve working with an attorney to craft your defense strategy. Numerous strategies have the potential to be successful in having violent crime charges reduced or dismissed, but claiming self-defense is one of the more common approaches.

While it is common, claiming self-defense can be much more complicated than people realize. It isn't as simple as just saying you acted in self-defense; you will need to argue that the various elements of this defense have been met.

For instance, you will need to show that your actions:

  • Were justified
  • Were in response to a legitimate threat to your safety or someone else's safety
  • Were not excessive

There are also other factors that must be considered, including where the incident took place and who was involved. There are various laws in place that provide more insight. However, it must be noted that these laws vary from state to state, so it is critical that you work with a defense attorney who is familiar in Illinois self-defense laws.

You should also understand that claiming you acted in self-defense will likely be challenged if there is a witness who will testify otherwise. That person might say you were the aggressor, or that you were not in imminent danger. In these situations, challenging the witness's story, background and motivations will be important.

As you should see, claiming self-defense can be far more complicated than you realize. However, in situations where you can justify your actions and when there are no credible witnesses who can contradict this, self-defense can prove to be your best defense. When it is successful, your charges (and penalties) can be dramatically reduced or even dismissed.

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