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Proving self-defense

Iowans get in uncomfortable situations from time to time. But, not everyone finds him or herself in situations that threaten their safety and wellbeing. When an individual believes that his or her safety is compromised, he or she may take steps to ensure their safety. This might mean defending themselves through physical conduct. These matters are not always clear as self-defense is not always available in every situation a person feels threatened. Even if an individual believes they properly executed self-defense, this could still result in criminal charges.

Self-defense is an accepted principle that essentially explains when a person can protect themselves from harm under the appropriate circumstances. This means that a person could be excused from behavior that would usually be deemed criminal if it was executed to protect him or herself from imminent physical harm. Though, one must prove that self-defense was, in fact, appropriate under the circumstances.

There are certain elements that must be met when asserting self-defense. To begin, the threat must be imminent. This means that the victim must have experienced immediate fear of physical harm. The treat must also be ongoing. If there is no longer a threat, then the justification for physical force no longer exists.

Next, the fear must be reasonable. This means that the circumstances of the situation must reasonably cause the perception of immediate physical harm. And, even if self-defense cannot be properly asserted, imperfect self-dense could still help in the criminal defense process. While the defendant may not be excused from the violent crime, it could help lessen the charges or the penalties associated with them.

Being accused of a violent crime can be a serious matter. It is clear that individuals will seek to protect him or herself in the event that physical harm is being threatened against them. However, this is not always clear. Because of this, it is important to understand one's rights and options when it comes to asserting a criminal defense.

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J. Dean Keegan, Eric D. Tindal & Andrea Mason Attorneys At Law
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