Can I plea self defense if a man is injured while he tried to attack me? 68 Answers as of July 03, 2013

A drunken belligerent man was following a girl on the street. She knows him. She tells him multiple times to stop following her. She gets upset because he's slurring and making her feel uncomfortable. She says stop following me or I'll punch you. He grabs her arm and she turns and hits him. He falls backwards. He hits head on pavement. He is rushed to hospital. There is bleeding in his brain. He has an operation. He survives. The girl is charged with aggravated assault. Will she be able to plea self-defense? It's important she not have a criminal record for her work.

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Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC
Lisa Mulligan Law Offices, LLC | Lisa Mulligan
This certainly sounds like a situation where you acted in self-defense. You should speak with an experienced local attorney about the details of your case to get a better idea about how things will go in court and what needs to be done to prepare your defense
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 11/28/2011
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Yes .
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/2/2013
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
Self defense is a defense to a criminal charge. It is not a plea. A plea is basically guilty or not guilty or no contest. The defense of self defense has to be proven at trial. You should hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/8/2011
Law Office of James Bordonaro
Law Office of James Bordonaro | James Albert Bordonaro
Yes, she can argue self defense. She also has a lack of intent defense as well. Does she qualify for a public defender or if she needs an attorney we may be able to represent her in court.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 11/7/2011
Law Offices of Kiran Nair
Law Offices of Kiran Nair | Kiran K. Nair
Yes but I strongly recommend she get an attorney because self-defense is complicated, and generally requires proceeding to trial. If she is a non-citizen, then she especially needs an attorney who ensures that she does not plead to a serious offense under immigration laws.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/3/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    If a person wants to argue the defense of self defense you need to have an attorney that is willing to fight all the way for you.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Ruiz Law Group, P.C.
    Ruiz Law Group, P.C. | Frances Ruiz
    Every case is different it depends on the particular facts and circumstances. Whether the person has a criminal history etc.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/3/2013
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    She needs a lawyer to help her but yes, it could be self defense in that situation. She has the right to hit him if he grabs her.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    That sounds like self defense to me. She did not use a weapon. He attacked her first. It is only bad luck that he hit his head on the pavement. She wins, I predict, but nothing is guaranteed in this world.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    She needs to retain an attorney or request that the court appoint her an attorney at the public's expense. Most attorneys provide a free initial consultation. Speaking generally, anyone charged with a criminal offense is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecutor must prove any allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. Speaking generally, "self defense" is an affirmative defense which may be raised and argued to refute a criminal charge. However, this "defense" may be risky strategy and should only be considered after a careful review of all the facts with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your friend should retain a lawyer or ask that the court appoint her an attorney to paid at the public's expense.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Office of Nixon Ayemi | Nixon Ayeni
    You can plead anything you want this is a serious case you need to find a lawyer and have a sit down with your lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Self Defense is a defense to Aggravated Assault. At the beginning of the case, a plea of Not Guilty is entered. Self Defense is an affirmative defense which is brought up as a defense at trial. If the circumstances warrant, the case may be able to be resolved without the need to go to trial. However, if the facts are disputed, there will need to be a trial to get the charges dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/2/2011
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine | Jerry Lee Wallentine Jr.
    Yes! Self-defense is a very valid defense in a case like that. Obviously I don't know all the facts in this specific case, but self-defense sounds like the reasonable way to defend the charges against her. From a legal standpoint, the judge will likely allow such a jury instruction under those facts. It will then be up to the jury to decide whether her actions were reasonable and true self-defense. The jury is the fact finder. Also, your plea is not guilty. Self defense is your affirmative defense.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Levine & McHenry LLC
    Levine & McHenry LLC | Matthew McHenry
    Absolutely. Self-defense is a valid defense in that situation. However, self-defense is an issue to be raised at trial, it is not something she can "plea to."
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Cetainly you can file a special plea of self-defense. The question of whether it is self-defense is for the jury.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    She should be able to use the self defense provision as her defense, but in order to use it, she must take the case to trial.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    The short answer is yes. She can plead self-dfense, but this will not have the case dismissed, unless a jury finds it was self defense at trial.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    Absolutely. The case sounds like so many in various Counties in California, such as Riverside - charge the victim. I cannot tell you how often that happens. Do not take a deal. Go to trial. What is their theory, that this self-intoxicated assailant attacked of sexually batteredyou, after you asked him to leave you alone, and it is your fault? Were there any other witnesses? You should contact an experienced, local Criminal Defense Attorney right away.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel
    Grantland, Blodgett, Shaw & Abel | Gregory M. Abel
    Yes. This is the most common defense and counterclaim in a civil matter on the incident.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Offices of Paula Drake
    Law Offices of Paula Drake | Paula Drake
    It is a plausible defense since he touced her first; however the amount of force she used will have to be found to be reasonable. That would be a question of fact for the jury. If they find she acted in self defense then she would not be guilty of the charge.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Yes. Pleading is one thing but proof is another
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Kenyon Law Firm
    Kenyon Law Firm | Todd Kenyon
    Excellent question. Self Defense is an affirmative defense that can be used under the correct circumstances. Whether the Court will permit use of this defense depends on the State or jurisdiction. Different jurisdictions can have different standards for the use of self defense at trial. Generally, a person does have the right to defend oneself. However questions like whether the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to escape without using force can come up. If you are in fear of immininent harm you can use reasonable force to defend yourself. Just because the attacker was injured does not prevent a person from asserting self defense.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier
    The Law Offices of Seth D. Schraier | Seth D. Schraier
    This is a question best left for her attorney to handle once the case goes forward. If she can make a reasonable claim for self defense, and it being a reason for any injury that occurred to the assailant, then she can make that claim in good faith. Whether it will succeed will be a question for the jury if the case moves forward.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    Yes, the defendant should raise self-defense as a justification for her actions. Self-defense is an affirmative defense that the defendant needs to raise, that is, give notice that she is asserting self-defense. In a trial, once the defendant provides evidence of a need for self-defense, the state has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that her actions are not justified. This would be difficult for the state on the facts you relate.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Based upon the facts as you have related, it looks like a good case of self defense. She should still retain the services of an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    Minnesota law allows a defendant charged with aggravated assault to assert the right to self defense under certain conditions. Before you may rely on self defense at trial, the law requires that you retreat from the encounter before resorting to the use of force. If it is not possible to retreat from the encounter, you may use a reasonable amount of force to defend yourself. When the intoxicated person grabbed the girl by the arm, she may have been able to pull herself free and run to safety. If so, self defense is not available as she had a legal duty to retreat from the encounter. Secondly, the use of force must be reasonable under the circumstances. If someone grabs your arm, punching them in the face and knocking them out cold may be considered the use of unreasonable force. The law allows you to use only as much force as is necessary to defend yourself. To sum up, the use of self defense requires that you retreat from the encounter, if at all possible. If there is no way for you to retreat, you may use only a reasonable amount of force to defend yourself. The ability to assert self defense in an aggravated assault case can be determined only after conducting a thorough investigation of the facts necessary to support the defense.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber | Michael R. Garber
    Yes, she can plead self defense.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Keyser Law Firm
    Keyser Law Firm | Christopher W. Keyser
    Defendants are always entitled to plead "not guilty" when charged with committing a criminal offense. Self-defense is a common defense in assault cases. Whether a person can assert this defense is not the issue but rather how successful that defense will be. Each self-defense claim must be scrutinized on a case-by-case basis. It is possible that by bringing evidence of self-defense can stop charges from being brought or in the alternative, getting charges dismissed by the prosecutor. If neither of these options is viable, a person must assert this defense at trial which will be determined by a judge or jury.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    If she was truly defending herself she could use this as a defense.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Absolutely. Self Defense applies in the situation you presented.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Schwartz & Krysinski, LLP
    Schwartz & Krysinski, LLP | Howard A. Schwartz
    The correct terminology would be justification, as opposed to self defense. A situation like this will be handled differently from county to county. There are many important factors to be considered including potential witnesses, the record of the alleged victim and the record of the defendant. If this is truly a case with a strong justification defense one would hope that she could get out of this case with no criminal record. As with all criminal cases, they are very fact specific and it is important for the attorney representing her to look at all of the different facets before deciding on a course of action.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    As I am sure you have learned, aggravated assault is a very serious felony charge. In fact, it is the charge that is quite often used instead of attempted murder, which is not a charge in Georgia. (Some other states have a charge called attempted murder but Georgia does not). It does sound as if this could be a self-defense case. One of the things to looked at is whether the response by the girl was a reasonable use of force in light of the danger. But, probably the most important factor for the girl will be the ability of the lawyer she hires. If she hires a loser of a defense lawyer (and there are very, very many) then she will have a loser of a defense. The girl should meet with several lawyers and choose the best one she can afford. This serious felony charge could cause her to go to prison, lose her voting and gun rights, and have problems finding jobs, among other bad consequences.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Words alone cannot be provocation for the use of force, but if he grabbed her arm it may be considered self-defense if she reasonably felt that he was about to injure her. The defense of "justification", more commonly known as self-defense applies to any person who is protecting themselves or another from imminent harm. You can only use deadly physical force if it is used on you or another. You do not have to wait until someone has injured you, but the issue of reasonableness is for the prosecutor or jury to determine. Here she merely punched the man once after he grabbed her. I believe the jury will find that he was assaulting her and threatened her and that she had the right to defend herself and that she could use reasonable non-deadly force to protect herself. She has a duty to retreat unless in her own home, but only if she could retreat in complete safety. When he grabbed her arm she could not retreat and could have reasonably feared that he was about to injure her. The fact that he was seriously injured is irrelevant since she did not use a weapon or deadly force. If you have the right to punch someone you are not responsible if they fall into the path of a car, hit their head on the sidewalk, or choke to death on their own blood as a result of a broken nose. Feel free to call if you need an attorney, I believe that I could win the trial or have the prosecutor dismiss the case if they believe her version and feel that he grabbed her arm. Just because she says he grabbed her arm does not prove that it happened. It has to be proven to the trier of fact, a judge or jury. You are always better with a jury in this type of case. Make sure you check to see if there is cell phone footage or surveillance video to back up her version of the events. She can still b e sued for the assault and have to pay damages if the jury finds for the injured party.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones | B. Elaine Jones
    Based on the facts as you have presented them, it appears that a self-defense plea is appropriate. Of course, I would have to examine the file and read all of the statements and police reports but it sounds as if the girl was defending herself.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Aaronson Law Firm
    Aaronson Law Firm | Michael Aaronson
    There are several defenses that she may be able to raise. Self-defense is only limited to certain situations and may or may not apply to the situation at hand. However, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration. I would suggest she consult with a lawyer as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Yes she could plead self defense. She needs a good attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    If the facts are as given, then yes, she was defending herself and not guilty of assault. But the question isn't what really happened, it's what the jury believes. She has a good argument at trial, but it's no guarantee. She should talk to a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Yes. If you were not the first aggressor and the man grabbed you, you were within you rights to hit him and you should assert a self-defense defense.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    You can only plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest to a charge. Self Defense is a defense to a charge not a plea. If charged with an assualtive crime, self defense may be a viable defense to you based on the facts. This is something you will need to discuss with your attorney to determine if this is a good option for you or not.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    She will need a lawyer to present her case under the best possible light. Self-defense is a valid defense, but you need to somehow make the prosecutor buy it for this particular case. An experienced attorney knows how to work with the prosecutor. For example, experienced attorneys know that prosecutors hate to take assault cases to trial, because they often involve a lot of he said she said. Having an attorney who knows how to navigate the waters will help you tremedously in the negotiations with the Judge as well.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Yes - also, defense of others. She needs an attorney - this is a felony with mandatory prison time if convicted.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Offices of Louis M. Leibowitz, LLC
    Law Offices of Louis M. Leibowitz, LLC | Louis Leibowitz
    Self-defense is a complete defense to assault. The issue is not the severity of the person's injuries but did the defendant use reasonable force under the circumstances. It sounds like reasonable force was used, but she should see an attorney about applying that defense to her situation.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Your description sounds like very reasonable "Self Defense" that did not exceed the amount of force that was being used. I got an acquittal in a jury trial with much worse facts. If you are a sympathetic party with good character witnesses, you should do very well.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    Anytime a person is assaulted by another person they have the right to defend or protect themselves. The standard is whether or not the defense was reasonable. The man hitting his head was not an intended consequence. If she asked him to leave her alone and he initiated the contact she can certainly argue that she was defending herself.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    She can use self-defense but you don't plead it. It has to be reasonable to the severity of the assault and battery.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    Self defense is just that.. a defense. It will be up to a jury to decide whether here actions were justified. I would recommend that she hire an attorney experienced in handling these cases.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    bark & karpf
    bark & karpf | peter bark
    This is a good justification (self defense) defense. She appeared to be using reasonable force to fight off an unjustifiable attack on herself. The fact that there was an unanticipated result is not the determining factor. A woman in that situation might have reasonably felt that he was about to rape her. Probably no jury would convict her.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    Of course, plead not guilty. Did you tell this story to the police? If so, then I am surprised they would recommend prosecuting you. Are there any other witnesses? Has the "victim" since given the police a different account? The police report must read very differently than your version of events or the DA would not have issued the case. In any event, all you can do is put on your defense. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Fairlie & Lippy, P.C.
    Fairlie & Lippy, P.C. | Steven Fairlie
    This case will turn on the exact facts presented at trial, but from what you have presented she would have a very good argument for self-defense.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Yes but she better have a good criminal defense attorney to argue this to the DA.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    This girl most definitely can plead not guilty and assert the affirmative defense of self=defense. From what you describe, this sounds like a classic case of self defense, however, be aware this is an affirmative defense that she will have to prove. consult with an attorney who will be able to present this defense to the charge, he is expert in this. Sounds to me like she has a winner.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    She can plead self-defense but she will have to prove it. The biggest problem here is the force used must be no more than necessary. The fact that he fell and hit his head may be viewed as excessive force. However, the prosecution must prove that his injuries were due to the punch and your friend can argue that the punch was minor and the cause of the "victim's" fall was his intoxication. She will need a good lawyer for this.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Baner and Baner
    Baner and Baner | Jonathan Baner
    It isn't necessarily important that she doesn't have a criminal record because aggravated assault and self defense do not contain any limitations based upon history of the accused. It is possible to claim self-defense (it isn't a plea per se, the plea is not guilty, but it is an affirmative defense of self defense to say: yes I hit him, but he hit me), but it must be actually proven. Because someone is slurring and making you feel uncomfortable is not a defense, what matters is that the forced used was reasonable in proportion to the force applied. There are avenues of defense available based on what you are stating here, but more would need to be known.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Michael Edwards, Attorney at Law
    Michael Edwards, Attorney at Law | Michael Edwards
    You may be able to rely on the legal defense of self defense. The focus should not be on the injury caused to the man, but on whether the force you used in self defense was reasonable, given the circumstances. Consult with a good defense attorney about your case, and do the best you can! Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes. She may have to plead self defense.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    DeVito & Visconti, PA
    DeVito & Visconti, PA | John E DeVito
    Self defense can be raised in the fact scenario you have described. You should consult an attorney. The attorney will want to review the police report with you. The attorney will need to know about any statements you made to the police, what witnesses saw the event, everything you did that day, why you were with the alleged victim or what caused him to follow you. The attorney will probably get an investigator involved to meet the alleged victim and talk to or find any potential witnesses. The case will not go away just because you raise self defense. You still have to convince a judge or jury that it was self defense. There may be other issues that an attorney may want to investigate. For example does this victim have a propensity for violence; has he intimidated you in the past; has he intimidated others in the past. Do not treat this matter lightly.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Rizio & Nelson
    Rizio & Nelson | John W. Bussman
    That would be the obvious argument. It's tough to predict whether or not it would be a winning argument without extensively reviewing all of the evidence. Self-defense is not applicable if she used more force than necessary to defend herself. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    This is serious. This is not the type of situation she should handle alone, especially if the man went to the hospital and she wants to avoid a criminal record. While self defense is a possibility, there is still an issue of how reasonable her actions were compared to the danger.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    If the facts are true and the man did grab the girls arm before she hit him the grabbing of the arm is an assault by the man. The person that is assaulted may use whatever force is necessary to defend against the assault. Here the girl was grabbed by someone under the influence. Hitting him once to get him to let go is a reasonable response to the assault and would be a valid self-defense. Under the facts listed the girl should not be convicted or even tried for aggravated assault. This is assuming the facts can be proven in court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Meshbesher & Spence
    Meshbesher & Spence | Daniel Guerrero
    Yes, she will be able to plead self defense, as long as the force used to repel the assault was objectively reasonable under the circumstances. It sounds like it was. She should get a good lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Self defense is not a plea. It is an affirmative defense to the charge. An assault can be very serious. It requires that you acted with an intent to harm someone or that the other person was in reasonable apprehension of physical harm from an act. A fifth degree assault is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, the collateral consequences of a conviction are extremely significant and, arguably, more severe than the criminal penalties themselves. As a result, it is extremely important to protect your public and criminal record. First, if convicted of a fifth degree assault or any assault offense, employers who require a background check will not hire you. That is particularly true if you work closely with customers or in some other service oriented profession. Second, many landlords now perform background checks for applicants and, if you decide to rent, you may be denied an apartment with a crime of violence such as an assault on your record. Third, a conviction for assault may result in licensing problems for certain occupations or interfere with acceptance into some schools of higher learning. Often, the best defense is a good offense. In most instances, an argument for self defense may be made and Motions should be served to acquire all statements and medical records from the prosecution. Often, with skilled legal representation jail time and convictions can be avoided.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    There is more information needed to give you a complete answer. Generally, if you are on the street there is a duty to retreat. Also, it sounds that this man was being a pest but did not attach you. However, this does not mean that there is no defense I would just need more. Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law | Edward A. Kroll
    There is certainly a good claim of self defense here. However, just claiming it will not be enough - this person needs an experienced criminal defense lawyer on their side. The state will try to show that the girl was the aggressor and that she is at fault. It won't just be enough for the girl to say "it was self-defense." In a case this serious, some investigation will need to be done - witnesses interviewed, reports examined, etc. Do not make the mistake of thinking this can be handled easily, or by yourself. With serious charges, you need a serious defense. That said, the core of this case would indeed be self-defense. Showing the jury why the girl reacted as she did will be important. Having an experienced lawyer can make this process a whole lot easier.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 11/1/2011
    My Advocate Group
    My Advocate Group | Robert Myers
    I would not jump to self-defense because in doing so, she essentially be admitting that she assaulted him. First, she should have her attorney review the evidence against her. If, in the end, self-defense is what it ends up being, then unless the DA sees that and drops the case, she will have to use self-defense as her argument before a jury. There is no plea of self-defense that leaves you without a criminal record. She should remain silent as to the events of what happened and have the file reviewed by her attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/1/2011
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