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What is considered self-defense?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2021 | Criminal Defense

If you were under the threat of harm but managed to fight off your assailant, what can you do if the assailant brings assault charges against you? New Jersey permits citizens to use force to protect themselves. 

The law does not only protect you but your rights in the defense of others and your home. 

In defense of your home

You have every right, according to New Jersey law, to protect your home. You should never feel unsafe or threatened within your home. If a person intrudes or attacks you in your home, you do not have to retreat. You cannot face prosecution or civil charges if you use force against an intruder when you have no other reasonable option. 

In defense of yourself

Self-defense is a common defense against assault charges. If another person attacks or threatens you and you react violently in defense of your safety, then you should not face criminal prosecution. Self-defense often occurs when someone acts violently or has a history of violence. 

In defense of another person

The rule that states you can defend another person is similar to the rule that allows you to defend yourself. If there is a third-party under attack or threat of harm, you can intervene. Keep in mind that your actions must be the same as any reasonable person. For example, if you deescalate a situation and there is no longer a threat of violence, you cannot use violence yourself. 

Every person has a right to protect him or herself from harm or threats of harm. However, after an altercation, the provocateur may allege assault.