Using Self Defense in an Assault Case

Posted On: November 29th, 2017 by Bradley J. Groene
self defense case

Many people charged with assault find it surprising that they are facing legal consequences in the first place, especially if they feel that the other person is the one who should have been arrested. Police responding to a call often find themselves in a chaotic and confusing situation, and in many cases they arrest the victim and not the aggressor. Ohio law allows for a person to use self defense to protect oneself when facing violence from another. An experienced attorney can successfully argue self defense in your assault case and help you clear your name.

It is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible if you have been arrested for assault. As defense attorneys with many years of experience, Luftman, Heck & Associates understand that every assault case is unique, and we know how an Ohio court will apply self defense laws in your case. To speak with a Cincinnati assault attorney, call our office at (513) 338-1890.

How Ohio Law Applies Self Defense To Assault Cases

Self defense is allowed in any situation where the defender did not start the incident. State law allows for a person to use reasonable force to defend or protect oneself, and this applies to all situations whether they can be considered deadly or not. If you are to succeed in using a claim of self defense in your assault case, you must prove the following four points:

  1. You experienced a threat of unlawful force or harm

  2. You had a real fear of harm, and this fear was reasonable at the time of the incident

  3. There was no harm or provocation on your part which started the incident

  4. You did not have a reasonable chance to escaping the situation once it started without having to act in self defense.

Ohio law does not explain specific actions which are to be considered self defense, but rather self defense is determined on a case by case basis. This will be applied to your case when the court tries to determine if you were reasonable in believing that you had to use force to defend yourself, and in determining if the force you used was appropriate. For example, it will not be considered reasonable if it is found that you used excessive force in your defense, and you can still face an assault conviction even if you did not start the incident.

The Defense Of Others and Property

What if you make physical contact with someone who did not threaten you, but instead who was threatening or harming someone else? This is very common, and in many cases the defender of another person gets charged with assault once the dust settles. Defending others has the same standard as defending oneself, but in this case you must have reasonable grounds to believe that another person is being hurt or about to be hurt.

Using force to defend your property can be a valid defense, but it’s not always as clear as in cases where you are defending yourself or another person. Generally you are not entitled to use force upon someone who you sought out after they stole something that belongs to you. In these cases you should call the police and have them lead the way in retrieving your stolen belongings. However, the reasonable use of force in defending property can be a successful defense in assault charges in the following cases:

  • Property that is stolen from your physical possession. If you are the victim of a pickpocket or purse snatcher, it is often understood that you can use force to recover your things so long as you act in that moment and not at another time in the future.
  • Issues involving your home or residence. If you stumble upon a burglar or vandal at your home, you are generally allowed to use a reasonable amount of force in defending your property.

Luftman, Heck & Associates Can Help You

Assault charges can result in serious fines and jail time, and you need a skilled defense lawyer to help you through the court process to clear your name. If you were reasonable in applying force upon someone who was attacking you, or another person, then claiming self defense can result in justifying your actions and having your charges dropped. As attorneys with years of experience, we know how assault charges can affect your life, and we understand how self defense is applied to cases in Ohio courts.

To speak with an assault defense attorney, contact Luftman, Heck & Associates today. Call our office at (513) 338-1890.