Personal Injury, Criminal Law, Traffic Violations, and Family Law & Divorce

Can you argue self-defense in a domestic violence case?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2022 | Domestic Violence

Maryland courts take domestic violence allegations extremely seriously. A conviction for domestic violence can lead to serious consequences – both legal and collateral – for the accused party. But what if you acted in self-defense?

If you are charged with domestic violence, it is the job of the prosecution to satisfy all the necessary legal elements in order to prove their case against you. However, this is not to say that you should just sit back and do nothing. One of the defense options you can consider when charged with domestic violence is self-defense.

Citing self-defense in a domestic violence case

When Maryland police respond to a domestic violence call, they are often required to act swiftly. In fact, the police will often take at least one party into custody when responding to an alleged domestic violence claim.

Often, the police will believe the individual who made the call, which is usually the alleged victim. During the arrest, the police will also look out for, and document, any injuries that they believe are relevant to the claim.

However, to argue self-defense in your domestic violence case, you will need to prove the following:

  •       There was an imminent threat of bodily harm from the other party
  •       You reasonably believed that you countered the threat with necessary force and that you did so to protect yourself
  •       You used proportionate force to defend against the danger or threat

To build a strong defense against domestic violence, it helps to uncover as much information as possible regarding what happened, where, who, when and why. For instance, if there was a restraining order in place, and the alleged victim violated the order and invaded your home, then you could cite this to strengthen your case.

Domestic violence cases can be quite complex as they usually boil down to “he said, she said” situations. Seeking legal guidance can help you effectively defend yourself if you are charged with domestic violence in Maryland.