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What To Do When Self-Defense Leads to Domestic Violence Charges

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Our Washington D.C. criminal defense attorney at Lotze Mosley, LLP, knows domestic violence doesn’t always occur in a vacuum. While all cases are unique, physical contact is rarely a one-way street. A person’s instinct is to respond to a physical attack by defending themselves. This could mean grabbing, pushing, hitting back, or blocking the person from following.

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When police respond to a domestic violence call, conduct an investigation, and see signs that violence occurred, someone—even the person who was defending themselves from the attack—may be arrested for a crime.

This could be the wrong assumption, and they could arrest the wrong person. If this has happened to you, there are ways to navigate this challenging situation.

How to Prove You Were Acting in Self-Defense When Charged with Domestic Violence

To establish self-defense, you must demonstrate that you reasonably believed you were in imminent danger of bodily harm or death and that the force you used was necessary to defend yourself from that threat. Any evidence or testimony that supports your reasonable fear of harm can strengthen your self-defense claim.

This may include showing:

  • The threat of harm was immediate and present during the confrontation.
  • The force used in defense must be proportional to the threat faced, and you did not use excessive force beyond what is necessary to fend off the danger.
  • That your perception of the threat and the subsequent response were reasonable.
  • That retreating from the threat was not viable.
  • Evidence to help frame the context of the incident, including past incidents of the other person’s violence and your ability to stand down.

Collecting medical reports, photographs of injuries, witness statements, and other relevant evidence supporting the claim of self-defense can help build your case.

What Can I Do To Help Build My Case for Success?

While you should always be viewed as innocent until proven guilty, natural biases often mean that proving self-defense in a domestic violence charge can be more challenging than you expect.

The best course of action after being arrested and charged with domestic violence is to:

  • Partner with a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately and adhere strictly to the guidance provided by your attorney, including refraining from certain communications or actions that could compromise your defense.
  • Keep a detailed record of the incident, including injuries, damages, medical records, and any communications that may support your claim of self-defense.
  • Avoid direct contact with your accuser, which could lead to further complications or allegations.
  • Do not publicly discuss any details of the case with friends and family or make any statements on social media, in emails, or text messages.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyer at Lotze Mosley, LLP Today

Claiming self-defense in the face of domestic violence charges requires a nuanced, evidence-based approach. We can help. Call (202)-393-0535 to speak with our skilled criminal defense attorneys at Lotze Mosley, LLP in Washington, D.C. We will protect your rights from the start of the investigation, allowing you to make informed decisions about the direction of your case.

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