If you are charged with assault and battery, claiming self-defense sounds like the most reasonable thing to do. After all, you have a right to defend yourself in the face of imminent danger to your life or safety.
However, a self-defense claim does not always stand up to assault and battery charges. It all depends on the circumstances in which the alleged assault and battery took place along with other relevant facts related to the case, as discussed below.
Elements of self-defense
The threat to your life and safety must be immediate and reasonable for you to claim self-defense. You cannot reasonably claim to have been protecting yourself if you acted after the threat had passed or if the perceived aggressor did not mean to harm you.
In addition, your actions in self-defense should also be proportional to the level of threat. Claiming self-defense will not work if you responded to a minor threat with excessive or deadly force or continued using force even after you were out of danger.
Most importantly, you have a duty to retreat under New Jersey law. It means that you must attempt to avoid using deadly force (without compromising your safety) by retreating if you are outside your home. However, you do not have a duty to retreat in your home or dwelling unless you are the initial aggressor.
Are you facing assault and battery charges?
Assault and battery are very serious offenses in New Jersey. You may be jailed for a considerable period and face other legal penalties if found guilty. Therefore, it is best to seek proper legal representation to help protect your interests and improve the odds of a desirable outcome to your charges.