Using Self Defense in Assault Cases in Denver Colorado

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Self Defense in Assault and Domestic Violence CasesSelf Defense is one of the best defenses to assault cases in Colorado.  It is one of the few opportunities where you get to tell a jury exactly what happened and why you did what you did.

What is Self-Defense and how does it apply to Assault and Domestic Violence Cases?

Self-Defense is a right that you have to protect yourself.  When someone attacks you, and you act to protect yourself, you are acting in self defense.  This defense is a complete defense to the crime of assault or any other domestic violence charge involving force.

What are the drawbacks to using a self-defense argument in an Assault or Domestic Violence Case?

The biggest problem with using a self-defense argument is that you are admitting to the jury that you committed the crime of assault.  When you say that you acted in self-defense, you are telling the jury that you did intentionally touch the alleged victim in a manner that he or she perceived to be angry.  As such, you are admitting everything that the prosecutors needs to prove.  The result of admitting this is that your defense will have to be believed by the jury for it to be effective.  If it is not believed, you will automatically lose your case.

Why is the Defense Favorable against Assault or Domestic Violence Charges?

Self Defense works well because it is the truth.  Juries ultimately want to know the truth.  They want to know what happened and why it happened.  If you can tell your side of the story in a convincing way, you will be believed.

In addition, it is very difficult for a prosecutor to defend against self defense.  The prosecutor will typically only have the alleged victim’s side of the story.  If it appears that the alleged victim is not telling the whole story, her story will be discredited.  As such, the jury will want to side with you.

Also, if the prosecutor does not anticipate a self-defense theory, then the prosecutor will not have information that he may need to prove that you did not act in self-defense.  For example, if the prosecutor only has what the alleged victim told him, and then you call your own witnesses who were at the scene who can give the whole story, the prosecutor will not have any new witnesses that he can readily call to the stand.  As a result, the prosecutor will have no ammunition to fight against your side of the story.

So how do you develop a self-defense argument in your Assault or Domestic Violence Case?

Early on in your case, you will need to talk to an attorney.  An experienced attorney in Denver Colorado who knows how to present self defense arguments will be able to instruct you on everything that you will need to make your argument in court.

Probably the most important thing that you can do in your case, when you are making a self defense argument is to let your attorney know exactly what happened and who may know about the events.  Do not hold anything back because if you do, your lawyer will not prepare for it and may end up losing the case as a result.  For example, if you do not tell all of the details about the incident, the jury may think that you are not telling the truth and that you are hiding something.  If the jury things that you are hiding something, they may disregard your entire story.  If this happens, the prosecutor will capitalize on these perceptions and call the alleged victim back to the stand to point out the holes in your story.  This would be devastating for your case, so make sure you tell your attorney everything.

Second, you will need to identify any witnesses who saw the fight and who will be willing to come to court to tell a jury what happened.  A good witness is invaluable to a case because juries tend to believe witnesses more than alleged victims or defendants.  If there are no witnesses, expect to testify on your own behalf.

Third, you will need to identify details in the alleged victims story that support the argument of self defense.  It is essential that a thorough interview of the alleged victim is done by your attorney so that the alleged victim will be stuck with a story that can be beaten by a self defense argument.

Fourth, you will need to identify evidence at the crime scene that support your theory of self-defense.  For example, if there are marks on the walls showing a struggle that coincide with marks on your body, then you will be able to more easily recreate the struggle and show how she initially attacked you and how you moved to protect yourself.

If you decide to say that you acted in self defense, be sure to hire an attorney who will be able to present your defense in the light most favorable to you.  It is an excellent defense to assault cases in Denver Colorado and is a defense that you will definitely want to consider if the facts support it.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

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Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca