In this country, we have a Constitutional right to protect ourselves from harm, such as assault, battery, domestic violence, or destruction of property. However, it is possible that a police officer might arrest you even if all you have done is protect yourself. How is this possible? Law enforcement officers have a duty to arrest any individual who might be suspected of committing a criminal violation so, in reality, you would not be arrested for acting in self-defense, but rather for the crime you are suspected of. For example, if a law enforcement officer sees two individuals fighting, both would be arrested, even if one of them was acting in self-defense.
What is Self-Defense?
Self-defense is essentially one’s right to prevent suffering force or violence by counteracting that force or violence. While it sounds simple enough, it can actually get quite complicated. For example, other elements such as whether or not the victim provoked the attack, or if the level of force used was unreasonable could all impact how the court views an act of self-defense. Generally, the use of force in self-defense is only justifiable when it is used in response to an immediate threat, even if the threat is verbal.
That said, the fear of harm must be reasonable. If any other reasonable person, given the same set of circumstances, would not believe himself or herself to be in any real danger, then it is not likely the court would consider the act of self-defense warranted.
Additionally, it is important for the use of self-defense to match the level of perceived threat. For example, if someone believes a threat is deadly, the act of self-defense can involve deadly force. If the threat is minor, the use of deadly force in an act of self-defense would be unreasonable and a self-defense claim would undoubtedly fail.
Ultimately, it is important that you hire skilled legal counsel if you were arrested after defending yourself. Seeking knowledgeable representation early on is crucial to ensuring you have the best possible chance of protecting your rights, freedom, and future.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Chicago
If you were recently arrested after acting in self-defense, you must seek skilled legal representation as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Steven Fine, our Chicago criminal defense attorney is backed by over 20 years of legal experience and a proven track record of success. With so much at stake, you should not risk handling this delicate situation yourself.