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Can you claim self-defense in response to assault charges?

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Assault comes in numerous degrees under Connecticut law. From third-degree assault that involves intentionally harming someone through physical violence or perhaps accidentally harming someone through criminal negligence to first-degree assault that involves the intent to cause great bodily harm, there are many violent actions that can lead to assault charges.

The perspective of the other party and the extent of the injuries they suffer will play a role in what charges the state brings against you. You may be able to challenge their claims as part of your defense strategy. Other times, you may hope to prove you weren’t involved in the incident at all.

When there are witnesses that place you at the scene of an altercation or security footage that shows what happened, you may not be able to dispute your involvement in a physical fight, but that doesn’t mean you have to plead guilty. You can still potentially mount an affirmative defense by claiming that you acted in self-defense.

You can lawfully use force to protect yourself

Connecticut state law generally makes it a crime to intentionally hurt someone else or to become violent without justification. However, there are exceptions to this prohibition in circumstances where you need to use physical force to protect yourself.

When someone verbally threatens you or approaches you in a menacing manner, you may need to use force to prevent an attack. You may also use physical force to defend yourself after someone else initially assaults you. Self-defense claims can make what would otherwise be a criminal act an acceptable choice. Connecticut also allows an affirmative defense for those who use physical force to protect other people or to protect their private property.

When are self-defense claims harder to make?

If the other party has proof that you previously threatened them or were somehow the aggressor, you may have an uphill battle proving that you acted in self-defense in the Connecticut criminal courts. Additionally, if you have a lengthy criminal history that involves physical violence, the courts may be less likely to believe you when you claim that this situation was not illegal violence but merely defensive violence.

Reviewing the evidence against you can be an important first step if you want to fight back against assault charges in Connecticut.


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