Self-defense is one of the most common defenses against accusations of domestic violence. Disagreements between intimate partners can escalate to the point where one partner commits a violent act, forcing the other partner to act in self-defense. You cannot be convicted of domestic violence crime in California if you can prove you were in acting to protect yourself or someone else from harm. But how do you go about proving that?
Self-Defense Laws in California
Under state law, you are allowed to use force to defend yourself or others under certain conditions. It is self-defense if:
- You reasonably believe you or someone else is in imminent danger of actual physical harm; and
- You use only the amount of force reasonably necessary under the circumstances.
Reasonable belief refers to what a reasonable person would have done under the same or similar circumstances. For example, if you find a thief in your home, it may be reasonable to threaten them with a weapon. It would not be reasonable top attack them with that weapon after they have already run from your home.
For your actions to be considered self-defense, the danger of physical harm must be imminent or about to happen, not a threat of harm on some future date. Otherwise, you are expected to contact law enforcement, and seek their help in dealing with the threat. If you are aware of the future danger, and do nothing to stop it, then your claim of self-defense may not hold water.
You are legally allowed to stand your ground instead of fleeing from the attack, but you must use only the amount of force necessary for self-defense to apply. If you have been threatened or harmed by that person in the past, you are justified in taking stronger measures to defend yourself, your child, or a third person who is in danger.
Self-defense is an affirmative defense, which means the burden of proof is on you, not the prosecution. To prove self-defense, you must show that you perceived an imminent threat and responded appropriately. If you have been charged with a domestic violence crime, the jury may be predisposed to think of you as the villain, particularly if you are physically bigger and stronger than your partner. You and your attorney must prove that you were acting within the legal limits of self-defense.
To prove you were defending yourself as opposed to attacking the other person, your attorney may look for:
- Any admissions of using violence made by the victim in the police report
- Injuries suffered by the victim that suggest you were defending yourself
- Defensive injuries to your own body
- Inconsistencies in the victim’s story that you were the attacker
- Physical evidence on the scene that supports your claim
- Eyewitness testimony
- Security camera footage
Call Us if You Have Been Arrested for Domestic Violence
If you have been arrested for domestic battery or on another domestic violence charge, the first person to call is your attorney. Once the judge has set your bail, call Balboa Bail Bonds at (619) 760-2222, where our phones are answered by a live person. Our office is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We will act promptly to draw up a bond agreement and post your bail when it is finalized, for a 10 percent non-refundable premium, so you can be released from jail as soon as possible.
We are fast, affordable, and confidential. All our bond agents speak Spanish and have five to ten years of experience. We are approachable and friendly and treat all of our clients with courtesy and respect. We take Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, cash, checks, or money orders and offer flexible, interest-free payment plans.