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Arguing the use of self-defense under Virginia law

On Behalf of | Sep 30, 2022 | Criminal defense |

A verbal altercation can turn physical in the blink of an eye. And when someone ends up hurt as a result of a scuffle, allegations of criminal wrongdoing can fly. If you’re on the receiving end of those accusations, then you face the possibility of being hit with severe penalties, including jail or prison time. That’s why you need to know how to defend your rights.

Can you argue self-defense in your case?

Under Virginia law, you can act in self-defense under certain circumstances, which may give rise to a viable criminal defense. In order to successfully argue self-defense, though, you’ll have to prove certain factors. Primarily, you’ll have to demonstrate that you reasonably believed that the force that you used was necessary to protect yourself or someone else for the imminent use of illegal force.

How is “reasonableness” assessed?

When analyzing your case, a judge or jury is going to assess whether you subjectively acted reasonably. That means that the court is going to look at the facts as you perceived them at the time of the event to determine if your actions were acceptable given the circumstances at that time. In other words, you may still be able to avail yourself of this defense strategy even if in hindsight your actions may appear to have been unreasonable.

Properly analyzing your ability to argue self-defense

There are other restrictions placed on the use of self-defense as a legal strategy. For example, if you were the initial aggressor in the incident, then you’re probably going to be unsuccessful in arguing self-defense. But a criminal defense attorney can help you analyze the facts of your case to advise you as to your best course of action. Hopefully, you’ll be able to present the strongest case possible and beat the prosecution.