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Can self-defense claims succeed in the face of assault charges?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Assault charges can lead to a variety of penalties and a criminal record. If someone plead guilty or gets convicted, they may seem like a violent person to others if they have to undergo a background check. They may have either a felony or misdemeanor conviction on their criminal record. They might have to pay fine and could even serve time in prison in some cases.

Those accused of an illegal act of interpersonal violence in Kentucky may want to fight back against those allegations. In some cases, what looks like a crime was really an attempt to protect against the criminal intentions of other people. When can someone accused of assault respond by raising a claim that they acted in self-defense?

Reasonable people have to recognize the threat

The laws related to the use of physical force and self-defense are straightforward in Kentucky. Individuals have the right to protect themselves, their dwellings and even other people against imminent criminal activity. People can use the degree of force necessary to protect themselves, stop the aggression of the other party or escape the situation.

However, to assert that they acted in self-defense, a reasonable person would have to agree that the situation warranted a violent reaction. If another person in the same situation would fear for their safety or perceive it as a crime in progress, then the defendant is likely in a good position to defend against pending assault charges by claiming they acted in self-defense.

The likelihood of prevailing depends in no small part on the seriousness of the pending charges. Assault in the fourth degree, for example, involved minimal injury to the other party. The chances that other people think of the degree of force used as reasonable is relatively high. A first-degree assault, on the other hand, leads to serious injury, permanent disfigurement or risk of death.

Talking the situation through with a skilled defense attorney can help someone understand how others might perceive the situation. A defendant may be able to raise a self-defense claim and response to an assault charge or similar violent charge under certain circumstances. Individuals who explore every defense option can choose a strategy that is most likely to protect them from the risk of a criminal conviction.