Self-Defense in Richmond Domestic Violence Cases

Defending against a domestic violence charge does not necessarily mean that you have to prove an altercation did not happen. There are instances where self-defense in Richmond domestic violence cases is a valid response. This can be a tricky argument to make, so it would be wise to consult with a trusted domestic violence attorney in order to make sure you are meeting the legal thresholds for self-defense.

What Are Some Common Defenses Used in Domestic Violence Cases?

The two most common defenses that are used in domestic violence cases involve the defendant claiming it was an accident or that the violence did not occur at all. If the implication is that the accuser is making it up, it is helpful to show why or how that person might decide to make up a lie of that magnitude, and what they might stand to gain. However, it is also possible to claim self-defense in local domestic violence cases.

The Self-Defense Argument

When using a self-defense argument, the accused must understand the difference between self-defense and retaliation. With self-defense, an individual could use reasonable force to dispel a threat of death or bodily injury. Being “reasonable” means that they could not shoot or stab someone after being slapped, for example. Most people would not view that as reasonable.

If the accuser kicked them and walked away, and the defendant responded by running up and hitting that person while their back was turned, that would be considered retaliation. It is not self-defense because the threat has already removed itself.

Defense of Others

The defense of others in the realm of domestic violence is similar to self-defense. The argument made is that the offending party had to use reasonable force to dispel a threat of bodily injury against another person. The defense of others is transferred intent. Whatever amount of force the individual being offended or hurt could use to dispel the threat, a third party could also use it to dispel a threat. This defense is often used when children are involved who cannot protect themselves.

What Are the Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction?

A domestic violence conviction in Richmond can produce a fine of up to $2,500 for a first offense and up to 12 months in jail. A protective order would be issued against that person and they would lose the right to possess a firearm. There will also be a social stigma attached to them for being a violent individual, which could impact their social or employment prospects. In addition to the social stigma that comes with a conviction, the person will likely not be believed if a similar situation arises again. Multiple convictions can also be viewed as a felony, which could mean the loss of their right to a firearm.

These penalties are serious and are the reason that an accused individual should take their charges seriously. They might feel that arguing self-defense in a Richmond domestic violence case seems excessive but it is far preferable to the potential punishments. On certain occasions, a Virginia court might decide to dispel the charges against one or both individuals in a situation where they were mutually combative and both sides agreed that they were fighting and not being taken advantage of.

Learn How to Argue Self-Defense in Richmond Domestic Violence Cases with the Aid of an Attorney

Some accusations of spousal or familial abuse stem from a person engaging in self-defense against the accuser. It is important that these facts are put into the court record. Reach out to a lawyer as soon as you learn that you are being charged – or even as soon as the incident occurs – so that you can discuss self-defense in Richmond domestic violence cases and protect your rights.