Many women in abusive relationships often suffer years of emotional and physical violence. Violent relationships are often difficult to leave for fear of one’s life. The abuser can be controlling and manipulative in the relationship and endangerment can be increased if the woman attempts to leave. Shockingly, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women will be victims of Domestic Violence in their lifetimes.
While many women have struggled for years living with or trying to escape an abusive partner others find themselves attacked by an unknown person. Some women are victimized in parking garages, parks, or on the side of the road stranded seeking help.
While these women have not suffered continuous fear and torment from an abusive partner, they are often put in a life-threatening situation. The threat of rape, robbery, or homicide could easily lead to the victim to retaliate forcefully to protect themselves. Turning the attacker’s own weapon back on them, pushing them down a flight of stairs, or running over the violator with your vehicle may have been the only way out of a situation. When you are in an abusive relationship you may respond to a physical threat in self-defense.
Sadly, sometimes a woman will fight back against her abuser only to be charged herself. The large scale manipulation and control exhibited by the abuser can make it easier for the abuser to call the police and explain why charges should be issued against the person who is the real victim in the relationship. You need an experienced lawyer to address issues of self-defense in your case.
What is Self-Defense?
Self-defense is the act of defending oneself, a close relative, or one’s property by using force. Self-Defense is an affirmative defense to the charged conduct. The difficult thing to explain to clients is that it will often require a trial to win your case on self-defense grounds. Although it is rare, some cases are completely dismissed when an experienced attorney explains to a prosecutor that the alleged victim is truly the abuser in a case.
The right to self-defense can be applied to many situations – a mother protecting her children or herself, an onlooker protecting a victim from serious crime or injury, or protecting yourself from harm or violence.
Domestic Violence in Long-Term Relationships
Domestic violence can be life-threatening; nearly half of women who are murdered every year are killed by an intimate partner or friend. Thanks to the increased public services such as emergency shelters, employment support, and domestic violence education for battered women and their children, the number of females who murdered abusive partners has decreased over the years. Unfortunately, while the number of women who have been convicted of murdering their partners has lessened, the number of men who kill their female partners has stayed the same.
Building Your Case For Self-Defense With Details
As previously mentioned, nearly 30 percent of women who are murdered are killed by their domestic partners, while only 4 percent of men murdered whereby their female partners. And that can lead to the question, “Was it out of self-defense?”.
Many women who are being tried for a domestic violence charge do not have criminal records. Both the victim and the abuser may have been abused as children, live in poverty, or involved with drugs. Knowing the intimate details of an individual’s case is a key element in defense.
Who Started It?
In a criminal case of justifiable self-defense, the judge and possible jury are going to expect to hear about who started the argument and who attacked who first. It is also important to know the history of these confrontations. Is there a record of previous domestic violence issues by one or both parties? Most importantly, the prosecutor, judge, and jury will need to hear information about how fearful you were for the safety of yourself or someone else. All this information leading to conclude that you were acting in self-defense.
Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash
No Other Solution
In many cases of being attacked, the victim reacts immediately to protect themselves. Shoving an attacker down a flight of steps leading to their injury can be a reasonable response. It was not your intent to hurt the person, but rather to free yourself from being harmed.
Whatever your particular situation is, the prosecutor will inevitably argue that there was a less drastic measure, or that you were, in fact, the domestic abuser. Additional details such as if the attacker has a criminal history and your background information all contribute to building your case.
Contact A Criminal Defense Lawyer
Being accused of a serious crime can be frightening, especially if you were only protecting yourself and your family. Having a competent defense lawyer is necessary to collect your information and present your case in a way that best represents the truth of your situation.
A free consultation is a great way to meet your criminal defense lawyer. Ask questions and interview them to be sure you are selecting the best person for the job. If you don’t already have a lawyer and need one, consider contacting our office for a free consultation.