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When is self-defense a possible defense option?

There are several options that a person who is facing a violent crime has for a defense strategy. One of the options that might be suitable in some cases is self-defense. In order to present a self-defense strategy, there are some basic elements that must be met. If the elements for self-defense aren’t present, this defense strategy might not be the best choice for a case.

What elements must be present to use self-defense as a defense?

Generally, there has to be a threat of harm present. The fear of harm must be reasonable, which means that any normal person would feel the threat if they were placed in the same position. The treat that is used as part of the self-defense claim can be verbal or physical. It is important to note that simply saying something offensive isn’t enough to warrant action on the part of the person to whom the offensive statement is made.

What if the threat is present and then leaves?

If the threat of danger ends, so does the ability to claim self-defense. This means that if a person is attacked and the attacker leaves, it isn’t possible to claim self-defense if you go after the attacker with an intent to harm him or her. The only time that self-defense might be suitable is if there is an actual threat to you at the time that you react.

It is vital that you explore all the defense options that might be suitable for your case. All of the elements of your case must be carefully considered when you are trying to decide on a defense option.

Source: FindLaw, “Self Defense Overview,” accessed Dec. 23, 2015

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