A common defense for someone accused of a violent crime, such as assault, or murder, is self-defense. The defendant acknowledges that she committed the act, but she argues that the other person was the aggressor and that her reactions were justified.
In most self-defense cases, the most critical issues are:
- Who was the aggressor?
- Was the defendant’s belief that self-defense was necessary a reasonable one?
- If so, was the force used by the defendant also reasonable?
The foundation of self-defense is that people should be able to defend themselves physically, so long as it is reasonable under the totality of the circumstances.
For example, a reasonable person has the right to strike first and prevent an attack if she believes she is about to be physically attacked. She can’t, however, use more force than is reasonable and necessary to neutralize the threat; if she does, she might be in trouble.
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