Self Defense in a San Diego Assault Case

Self defense is a defense that may be applicable in certain Southern California assault cases. Whether the defense will apply depends on the specific facts of the case. If a knowledgeable San Diego Criminal Defense attorney is able to argue self defense successfully, then the case may be completely dismissed.

The evaluation of whether self defense will be influential will depend on certain factors that must be met in an assault. If all the elements are not met, then self defense will not apply and the case will go.

It is the prosecutor’s job to demonstrate to the Court that the person charged is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In an assault case, they must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt before a person can be found guilty and charged. They will do this by presenting evidence to the Judge and in certain cases, the jury. Evidence may include an officer’s report, witness testimony, photographs and any other evidence that was gathered from the scene.

When a defense is asserted by a defendant, the burden to prove the elements of the defense rests on the person being charged. If the person is represented by a San Diego Criminal defense attorney, then the attorney must present the case with the relevant evidence. Evidence that the defense presents will also be in the form of witness testimony, pictures, and evidence gathered at the scene. Oftentimes, the strongest evidence for defense will be witness testimony in an assault case.

For a person to assert self defense they must have had 1)fear of imminent danger, 2)felt that the only way to prevent the danger was to use force, and 3)they must have used a reasonable amount of force.

The self defense examples is best described through the use of two scenarios:
Scenario A: Donna and Victoria find themselves at a restaurant and get into an argument. Without warning, Donna hits Victoria and Victoria, in an effort to protect herself, kicks Donna. Donna ends up falling to the floor and hitting her head.
Scenario B: Donna and Victoria find themselves at a restaurant and get into an argument. Out of nowhere, Donna hits Victoria. Victoria falls to the floor and grabs her purse and takes out a gun and shoots Donna.

Scenario A will be a good case in which Victoria can make an argument for self defense and Scenario B will likely not stand up in court as a defense for several reasons. In Scenario A, the hit from Donna came without warning, and Victoria had imminent danger that she would suffer harm if she did not do anything about it. So in order to prevent Donna from hitting her, she had to kick her to get her away from her. She used the reasonable amount of force necessary to assure Donna would not be able to harm her or that she would not suffer immediate injury.

Scenario B, on the other hand, had the same initial facts, but Victoria had already fallen to the floor. An argument can be made anything Victoria did from there would not have prevented the harm, unless Donna had the intention or showed that she would hit Victoria again. Furthermore, Victoria did not use a reasonable amount of force to prevent the injury. She could have walked away, or possibly pushed Donna away if she felt that there was harm. The use of a gun would not be reasonable.

The facts of each case are unique and need to evaluated by a Southern California Defense Lawyer that has handled thousands of assault cases. Consulting a professional will give you a better idea of what defenses you have available to you.