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Can I Be Charged With a Crime If I Was Acting In Self-Defense?

Self-defense has a rather specific meaning as far as the law is concerned. That means that, even if you think that you were acting in self-defense, the courts might not see it that way. You could still be charged with a crime even if you maintain that your actions were the only ones available to you at the time. If you do get charged with a crime, you cannot afford to mess around. You should contact a Bergen County criminal defense attorney and learn more about your legal options.

Which Situations Would Be Considered Self-Defense?

There are a few situations where fighting back could be considered self-defense in the eyes of the law. You can be acting in self-defense if you were:

  • Using force to defend yourself
  • Defending another person from a third party
  • Protecting property

People using an appropriate amount of force in scenarios like these are often considered to be acting in self-defense. You just have to look out for two other things. First, the amount of force needs to be appropriate, meaning that you did not go overboard when fighting back. Second, you need to have at least tried to remove yourself from the situation. If you did not try to run first, your claim of self-defense might not hold up.

What is a “Duty to Retreat”?

One important thing to remember about New Jersey self-defense laws is the “duty to retreat.” What this means is that you are expected to try and find some escape from a situation before you respond with force. If you did have an opportunity to get away and you did not take it, it can be harder to argue that you acted in self-defense.

With that in mind, some situations that can usually be considered self-defense include:

  • Situations in which you are completely cornered
  • Incidents where bodily harm or even death can be expected
  • Situations in which you are completely restrained

In the above situations, it is unreasonable to expect that you will be able to make a run for it or escape from your predicament easily. So if you fight back and harm someone, it is more likely to be considered self-defense.

Can a Lawyer Help Me Prove Self-Defense?

You do not have to fight criminal charges on your own. An experienced defense attorney from our firm can help you make your case, We can help you tell your side of the story and show why your use of force was necessary and appropriate. The punishments for violent crimes can be quite severe, so making sure that you have the best defensive strategy is a necessity.

Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

When you are ready to fight these charges and tell your side of the story, contact the Law Office of Kevin T. Conway, We can schedule a consultation and tell you more about what our legal team can do to assist you in this difficult time.

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