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Self Defense in Domestic Violence Cases


In some cases, you may get a domestic violence case filed against you but you acted in self-defense. There are a lot of individuals who are having a lot of problems with their defense especially when they are working against a system that looks at domestic violence charges with the strictest eyes. 

With that, you must know about the ins and outs of self-defense in domestic violence cases. Let us talk about our experience.

In our experience as lawyers, we have seen some clients call us and be confused as to why they are being charged with the crime of domestic violence or an assault crime. In most instances, the clients believe that they are innocent of the crime being charged and that they were merely acting in self-defense. 

The Reality

The reality that we have seen is that when a police officer responds to a 911 call of domestic stress or domestic violence once there is an alleged crime and a person is being charged with it, the police are always quick to initiate an arrest on the suspect.

More often than not we have seen some of our clients face horrible treatment because of the accusation and this often leads to the filing of charges. This is a common problem but is understandable. In the State of Michigan alone, there were a reported 107,000 incidents of misdemeanor and felony assault crimes 

The Right To Act In Self Defense

The right to act in self-defense. We have defended a lot of our clients using self-defense because it is one of the most common defenses in criminal law and when you can show that you acted in self-defense the prosecution has to prove a greater burden at the time of the trial.

The prosecution must show beyond reasonable doubt that the crime occurred beyond the act of self-defense and it was because of the intent or the own demeanor of the individual involved.

The Elements of Self Defense

In the State of Michigan, there are four elements of self-defense. They are the following:

A belief that the aggressor was going to use physical force against him.

The defendant must have believed that the aggressor was going to use force against him or a third person. In the absence of the use of force, as long as there is the non-lethal force that was used and applied the defendant need not have believed that the aggressor was using deadly force against his person or someone else.

There must be the belief of an imminent attack on the defendant that forced the imminent attack on the aggressor. 

The defendant must have honestly thought that the amount of force used was appropriate at the time that it was used. Finally, somebody would find that the defendant used an appropriate amount of force at the time of the aggression. 

Objective/Subjective Test

There is also the objective/subjective test where if the prosecution shows the following, the self-defense case will fail.

That the belief of force or force used by the defendant was unreasonable

As stated in one of the elements of self-defense the belief or force used by the defendant must be reasonable hence if the belief of force or the force that was used was unreasonable there would be a soft defense case that necessarily fails.

Let us give you an example. In the case of domestic violence where the wife caused the death of the husband, it is possible that the wife would use self-defense. If it was shown that the belief of force or the force used by the wife was not necessary at the time of the aggression, the case of self-defense would necessarily fail.

That the defendant was the initial aggressor

If it is too dependent on who initially started the fight and the aggression the self-defense game would necessarily fail. 

If we use the same example that the defendant was the initial aggressor it is important to know that there is no self-defense. Much like anything in life, a person cannot claim defense of his person if he was the first person who caused the aggression.

There was an agreement by both parties to enter into a fight

If there was an original agreement by both parties that they are going to enter into a fight, one cannot claim self-defense against the other because both are in a fight.

In a case where you have entered into a fight, you cannot claim the elements of self-defense since it is considered as non-existent and waived at the time that the parties agreed to enter into a fight or a duel.

If more force than necessary was used by the defendant to subdue the initial aggressor

If the force that was used was not necessary to subdue the initial aggression then the defense of self-defense may not prosper.

Defending Domestic Violence

If you have committed domestic violence or need help prosecuting one, it is important to know that you also have a team that can help you out with your specific needs. The legal consequences of domestic violence are dire and must be addressed as soon as possible. Our law firm is dedicated to making sure that those who are innocent will be protected by the law and the full extent of justice will be used.


The article that you have read is based on general applications of the law. It is not legal advice and it is not to be construed as any legal consultation with the firm. No client-attorney relationship is created when you read the articles we have provided.

Let us help you out.

If you’ve been charged with a domestic violence crime you need a criminal defense lawyer on your side, call us immediately. If you have any problem with the law or are seeking justice and truth, our numbers are standing by to take your call. If you merely defended yourself, you need to prove that you have done self-defense and nothing else.

The post Self Defense in Domestic Violence Cases appeared first on Haque Legal.

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