Exclusive Criminal
Defense Representation
For Over 42 Years

Can you claim self-defense in a domestic violence case?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2024 | Domestic Violence Charges

If you are charged with domestic violence, arguing self-defense is one of the potential defense strategies you can use to push back against your charges. This is because you have a right to protect yourself from harm when facing an immediate threat to your life or safety.

However, you must consider several factors when assessing the viability of a self-defense claim. First, the threat of harm must have been immediate and likely to occur. If you used force after the threat had passed, self-defense may not apply to your situation.

Additionally, you must have had reasonable belief that you were in danger, based on the circumstances at the time. Lastly, your response against the threat must have been proportional to the level of danger you were facing. Using excessive force against a minor threat can weaken your claim. Whether you started the physical altercation may also matter when claiming self-defense.

Once there is evidence of self-defense the prosecutor bears the burden to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.  Although there is no duty to retreat in Colorado, self-defense requires that your use of force was reasonable and necessary. It is important to provide evidence to support your position, such as medical records, photographs of injuries and witness statements. A history of abuse or your knowledge of the other person’s violent reputation can also help establish your reasonable fear of harm.

Effectively demonstrating that you acted in self-defense could potentially result in your domestic charges being reduced or even dismissed. However, this can be challenging in domestic violence cases which mostly happen behind closed doors. As such, there may be no witnesses present or hard evidence that can help substantiate your claims.

Seeking a qualified legal assessment of your case can help you understand your rights, build a strong argument on your behalf and guide you through the legal process. Remember, every case is unique, and it’s crucial to have a defense tailored to your specific situation before committing to any particular course of action.