If you find yourself in a situation where you need to protect someone from harm and are later charged with assault, you should understand your options for defense. Claiming the defense of others could help you fight the charge.
Proving a defense of others claim depends upon a few important elements.
What does defense of others mean?
Defense of others is a legal principle that permits the use of force to protect someone else from imminent harm. Claiming this defense requires you to prove that someone faced an immediate threat.
What is an imminent threat?
To claim that the assault occurred in defense of others, you must prove that an imminent threat existed. This means showing that a third party faced a direct, clear and present risk of harm in the moment, such as the threat of a physical attack.
What is a reasonable belief?
If you had a reasonable belief that the person in question faced a direct threat, you can claim defense of others in response to your assault charge. That means that, even if the person was not actually in harm’s way, your reasonable belief of a threat could justify the force or violence in an attempt to protect them.
Was your response proportional?
A defense of others claim is ill-advised if your assault involved excessive force or unnecessary actions. Your actions must proportionately equal the level of threat at hand.
With more than 821,000 aggravated assaults reported across the country in 2019, assault charges are more common than you might think. If your charges resulted from an effort to protect someone else, consider these points as you formulate a defense.