There are two sides to every story in an assault charge and figuring out who was the innocent victim and who was the criminally liable aggressor often comes down to a matter of which story to believe. At the same time, however, California law provides a valid self-defense to assault charges only under certain types of circumstances. You may have felt your actions were justified in defending your honor or that of another, but the law may not see it that way.
When Self-Defense is a Valid Defense in California
To prove self-defense in an assault charge such that a judge, jury, or prosecutor should determine that you are not guilty, you should be able to show that:
- you reasonably believed you or another were in immediate danger of bodily injury or unlawful touching;
- you reasonable believed that using immediate force was necessary to defend against that immediate danger of bodily injury; and
- you used no more force than reasonably necessary to defend yourself or another.
In California, the burden is actually on the prosecutor to show that the defendant did not have a valid self-defense defense, but an experienced criminal defense lawyer will do everything he can to show that you did act in legal self-defense, making the prosecutor’s job as difficult as possible.
All of the above conditions must be met for the self-defense defense to hold up. If it was unreasonable for you to believe you were in danger (i.e. you just didn’t like the way the other guy looked at you) or if it was unreasonable of you to believe that using immediate force was necessary to protect yourself (i.e. the other guy was half your size and falling down drunk) or if you used more force than reasonably necessary to defend yourself (i.e. you used deadly force to combat non-deadly force), then a self-defense defense will be more difficult. But many defendants working with experienced criminal defense attorneys are able to show the above factors and avoid criminal charges, and the law is on the side of defendants who acted to properly defend themselves and others.
Work With Criminal Defense Attorneys Dedicated to Your Freedom
The experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates, PLC, are here to represent your rights and to present your best defenses in order to work towards a dropped investigation, reduced charges, a favorable plea agreement or a not guilty verdict. When you hire us as your defense attorney, we have a duty to keep information confidential and to zealously represent your interests to defend your freedom. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to discuss any potential investigations or charges.