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Difference Between Self-Defense & Assault

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In physical altercations, there is a fine line between self-defense and assault. How do you know when you or someone else has gone too far? In some cases, physical violence is, unfortunately, unavoidable.

When someone is physically attacked, they have a legal right to defend themselves. However, that right only extends to a certain point. The difference between self-defense and assault will influence the outcome of someone's legal trial.

Self-Defense Definition

Self-defense can be described as any force of physical violence that is used to counteract another force of violence. Self-defense does not happen without first being provoked; in other words, if you hit someone first because they said they were going to hit you, then you would not be acting in self-defense, even if they verbally threatened you first.

Physical Assault

Assault occurs when the violence exerted far surpasses the threat, or the physical attack is not prompted by an immediate threat to someone's well-being. If a person does not have a justifiable reason to fear for their physical welfare, then aggression and violence are not classified as self-defense.

Some states do allow individuals to use physical force against home intruders without any initiating physical violence, but the extent of that violence will still have to b examined by a court.

When You've Been Accused of Assault

Being accused of assault when you just wanted to defend yourself is gut-wrenching; in the heat of the moment, people lash out and do whatever they can to feel safe or even protect someone they love from harm.

In order to avoid being convicted of criminal assault, a personal defense attorney can help you present the details of your case to a court and explain why you felt there was no other choice but to act in your own defense.

For legal consultation, and to learn whether or not you can claim self-defense in a case, contact Smith & Vinson Law Firm today (512) 359-3743.

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