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When can you claim self-defense in response to a charge?

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2023 | Assault Charges

Any behavior that causes physical harm to someone else will likely lead to criminal charges under Indiana state statutes. You could find yourself accused of homicide or assault when the truth is that you simply wanted to protect yourself from someone else’s criminal intentions.

Although Indiana does have strict rules that criminalize violent physical contact and the negligent or intentional harming of another person, there are numerous scenarios in which otherwise illegal actions become technically legal. Someone accused of assault, murder or another violent offense might potentially respond to those accusations by raising a claim of self-defense.

What does Indiana permit as self-defense?

Using physical force is permissible to protect yourself or others

There are numerous circumstances in which it is legal for someone to use physical force. For example, if someone intrudes into your home without permission, you can use what would otherwise be unlawful force to protect yourself, your property and your family.

When you are in public spaces, you can defend yourself from acts of violence with physical force so long as you are in that space lawfully. If you fear for your own safety because someone has threatened you or has already physically injured you, you can use the degree of force that you deem necessary to stop their attack or extricate yourself from the situation. People can also raise a claim of self-defense if they acted to protect someone else from a crime in progress or an imminent physical threat.

Self-defense claims are only one option

Asserting that they acted in self-defense may be the best response for some people accused of violent crimes in Indiana. If the state has physical evidence or camera footage tying them to an incident, their lawyer may not be able to convince the courts that they were not present or involved. However, they could change the perception of what happened to make it clear that the defendant’s actions aligned with state law instead of violating it.

There are other defense strategies that can work in different situations, including challenging the evidence the state has gathered or providing an alternate explanation. Fighting back against violent criminal charges requires an understanding of state law and knowledge of what evidence the prosecution will present in court.