Lerner & Lerner, P.C.

Former prosecutors with more than 50 years combined experience

Nassau County Criminal Defense Lawyers
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How does a person plead self-defense?

It is important for individuals to be aware of their surroundings and prepared to act when dangers threaten their health and safety. For this reason the laws of New York and jurisdictions throughout the country recognize self-defense as an explanation for individuals' alleged commissions of assault and battery based crimes. While this post will generally discuss how self-defense may be pled in a criminal case it should in no way be read as legal advice.

Self-defense has several elements that must be present in order for it to be considered a legal defense. First, the person who pleads self-defense must be able to show that the threat to their health and safety was imminent: threats that happened far away in the past are not sufficient on which to base self-defense claims.

Second, a claim of self-defense must be based on the individual's belief that the other party's threat was reasonably likely to be carried out. Jokes and obviously untrue threats may not be used to justify violence through self-defense.

An act of self-defense also must be proportional to the threat the individual perceives is directed toward them. For example, if a person threatens to punch another person and the prospective victim takes out a gun and shoots their alleged aggressor, the self-defense response may not be judged proportional to the level of violence posed by the initial aggressor.

Building a self-defense case can be hard and criminal defense lawyers can help their clients use it and other defenses to protect their rights. Different states have different laws and so it is important that New York residents find local attorneys that they can trust with their criminal defense needs.

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