Self Defense and Violent Crimes Charges - Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Self Defense and Violent Crimes Charges

You always have the right to defend yourself from harm. This is a universally acknowledged principle. Sometimes defending yourself requires hurting another, using violence, or performing an action that would otherwise be considered a crime. That’s why people are often shocked to find that they have been charged with a crime after only trying to defend themselves.

This happens for a number of reasons. Many times the attacker will claim that you instigated the violence. Sometimes, someone who was trying to hurt you and your family may even be seriously injured or even killed. When this happens, police have to investigate. Despite this, though, you should not have to suffer the legal consequences of actions that were genuinely self-defense. A Pittsburgh violent crimes attorney can help you distinguish between self defense and a violent crime.

What Is Considered Self-Defense?

So what is really considered legally justified self-defense? Under U.S. law, self-defense is generally considered to be the right to prevent yourself or someone else from suffering force or violence through the use of a sufficient level of counteracting force or violence. This may seem simple enough, but there are a few factors that play into this definition.

First, you must only use “sufficient force.” This means that you are supposed to only use enough force to prevent an attack, but not to be unnecessarily violent. That means that you have to stop a violent defense if the other person retreats or is no longer a threat. For example, if the assailant passes out and then you continue to beat them, your actions change from self-defense to retaliatory assault, even if they started it.

Also, actions of self-defense are only justified under an immediate threat that is reasonable. That means a preemptive strike is only ok if you reasonably believe that you are being attacked. Simply yelling isn’t enough to warrant an escalation, either, unless they have said that they will kill you or otherwise act violently.

Because of the vagueness of these factors, usually, it is up to the jury to decide whether or not an action is really self-defense or not. When you are accused of a violent crime committed in self-defense, it is important that you build an effective defense demonstrating why you acted the way that you did and that it was fully justified. Often, an experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer can help ensure that your case is presented fairly and that your side of the story is heard.

If you are accused of a violent crime in Pittsburgh that was an act of self-defense, let the dedicated Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC help you fight the charges. Call them at (412) 281-2146 today for a free consultation on your case. Learn how we may be able to help you show the justification of your actions and help get you free.