Arrested for Domestic Violence When You Were Acting In Self-Defense

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Mar 29, 2023 | 0 Comments

Situations involving domestic violence are deeply traumatic and emotionally draining. The matter can become even more complicated when you have responded with force to a serious threat to your safety to defend yourself or someone else.

You might be wondering what your rights are if you acted in self-defense and got arrested for domestic violence. The LLF Law Firm Criminal Defense Team has years of experience and is ready to help.

Acting In Self Defense

Pennsylvania statute says you can use force against someone if you're defending yourself or someone else. However, the incident must meet several criteria to be considered self-defense.

First, you must prove that you only used force to protect yourself or another person from an immediate threat. This means you'll have to show that you or the person you were defending did not have a chance to retreat or safely exit the situation.

You'll also have to prove that you acted “reasonably.” In other words, you'll have to show that your actions made sense given the circumstances. This means demonstrating that you acted proportionately to the threat you faced. For instance, if you responded to name-calling with a physical assault, the courts are unlikely to view your actions as self-defense.

If you're arrested for domestic violence, your self-defense claim must satisfy all the criteria laid out by the PA legal code. Otherwise, a prosecutor might be able to convict you of a crime, even if you believe that your actions were purely motivated by self-defense.

When It's Not Self Defense

There are instances in which an individual's use of force against someone else will not be considered self-defense.

For instance, if you could have used non-lethal force, but instead used deadly force, this would not be seen as proportionate and, therefore will not count as self-defense.

If you provoked the other person's use of force against you, or what you believed to be their imminent use of force, you will also not be seen as having acted in self-defense. You cannot have instigated the violence; you can only have acted in response to it. If there's proof that you acted violently first, your self-defense claim will not hold.

The LLF Law Firm Criminal Defense Team can help determine what counts as self-defense in a domestic violence situation.

What Kind Of Evidence Can Be Used To Prove Self Defense?

To prove that the intent behind your actions was to protect yourself or another person, you'll have to provide evidence showing you were under immediate threat and that you acted reasonably. This can include eyewitness testimony, photos of your injuries, or threatening emails, voicemails, or text messages from the assailant.

Contact An Experienced Team Today

Proving self-defense requires meeting the criteria highlighted above. If you were arrested for domestic violence when you were only trying to defend yourself or someone else, call the Criminal Defense Team at the LLF Law Firm or contact us online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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