When Should You Claim Self-Defense?

If you’re like many people, you’ve heard of using self-defense as a reason for committing a crime – but is it the right choice in your case? If you’ve been charged with a violent crime, it may be. Here’s what you need to know.

When Should You Claim Self-Defense?

Self-defense is the act of using force to protect yourself from someone else. If you were justified in defending yourself, the state isn’t supposed to convict you of a crime.

For example, if you’re responding to an immediate threat (such as someone trying to stab you) and you break the attacker’s arm, there’s a good chance that you were justified in doing so. Your attorney may be able to show the court that you were only defending yourself and protecting yourself from injury. 

It is not self-defense if someone tries to stab you, fails and runs away… and then you chase him, beat him up and take his wallet. (Even if you didn’t take his wallet, you’re not justified in chasing him down and beating him up. Taking the wallet is another crime entirely – even if you believe the guy deserved it.)

Related: What’s the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor in Illinois?

How to Decide Whether Self-Defense is a Valid Defense

Your attorney will examine all the facts in your case to figure out whether you should claim self-defense in court. In some cases, it’s obvious (such as when you’re defending yourself from an attacker who wanted to stab you). In others, it may not be so clear. However, when you work with an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney, he’ll know whether you should claim self-defense.

Related: Can you be deported if you’re convicted of a crime?

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney?

If you’ve been accused of a crime, we may be able to help you – and don’t worry: It’s completely confidential. Call us at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below to schedule your free, private consultation with an experienced and skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney now.

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