Self defense, also known as justification in New York State, can be used as a defense for individuals charged with assault, homicide or other violent crimes involving an injured person. The justification defense is usually employed for serious crimes when the defendant has harmed someone else, but their actions were justified because they were protecting themselves due to the threat of imminent physical danger from the other person.
The right of self defense is legally defined as an individual’s right to use reasonable force in order to defend themselves or someone else when their safety was threatened. In certain situations, this includes the use of deadly force.
While self defense is a valid legal defense, there are specific circumstances under which it can be used in court. The defendant must prove he or she was not the initial aggressor, did not use excessive force in response to an attack, and reasonably believed that using force was necessary as a last resort to prevent immediate danger. In addition, the self defense claim must make sense in relation to the rest of the evidence.
In New York, proportionality is a key factor in a justification defense. A person’s response to an attack must be proportional to the attack. The threat of attack must also be immediate.
In cases that involve deadly force, the defendant must prove that he or she faced an imminent risk of injury, death or rape from the attacker. Self defense cannot be used if the individual acted only because of a threat of future harm.
Many serious cases of alleged assault can result in acquittals due to a successful self-defense argument. However, there are risks associated with using a self-defense strategy. A good criminal defense attorney can examine the details of a case and determine which defense will obtain the best outcome.