Self Defense

Asserted as a possible justifiable defense to assault related crimes

In Michigan, under certain circumstances, a person charged with any assault or domestic violence related misdemeanor or felony may be entitled to claim self-defense.

The right to defend one’s self is not a subject of any dispute. The area of contention is whether a person lawfully acted in self-defense. Justification to act in self-defense is further distinguished depending upon whether one acted with deadly force or non-deadly force.

While a person may believe he or she had acted in self-defense, the police, prosecutor, judge and jury may disagree.

Some recurrent themes stated within the self-defense laws and jury instructions are:

  • When deadly force is used, the defendant must have honestly and reasonably believed that he or she was in danger of being killed, seriously injured or sexually assaulted.
  • At the time he or she acted, the defendant must have honestly and reasonably believed that what he or she did was immediately necessary.
  • A person may only use as much force as he or she thinks is necessary at the time to protect himself or herself.
  • A person is never required to retreat if attacked in his or her own home, nor if the person reasonably believes that an attacker is about to use a deadly weapon, nor if the person is subject to a sudden, fierce, and violent attack.
  • The defendant’s conduct should be judged according to how the circumstances appeared at the time he or she acted.
  • A person may not kill or seriously injure another person just to protect himself or herself against what seems like a threat of only minor injury.

In 2006, Michigan adopted a “stand your ground” law and as well as creating statutory presumptions regarding the use of self-defense within a residence or business:

MCL 780.951: Presumptions: Using deadly force or force other than deadly force

MCL 780.972: Michigan Stand Your Ground Law

You cannot predict the future, but you can be prepared!

In cases which involve a fist fight or shooting, it is not always to determine who qualifies as the victim. Nor can you predict when, if ever, you’ll find it necessary to act in self-defense. However, being prepared is something that is within your control. At the very least, knowing ahead of time whether you should talk to the police can save you from making incriminating statements that can negate a theory of self-defense. In addition, constantly striving for education, information and training can prove to be invaluable should the need arise to act in self-defense. This is especially true for those with a Concealed Pistol License (CPL). See informative links below:

When accused of an assault crime, we will begin our investigation by gathering information about the parties involved and utilize a private investigator to take statements from potential witnesses. Additionally, we will evaluate several factors in our analysis of self-defense in relation to an assault or domestic violence case:

  • Prior reputation for violence.
  • Prior history involving assault or domestic violence crimes.
  • Relative strength, weakness or disabilities.
  • Martial arts experience or military training of either party.
  • Any means to avoid the altercation, escape, retreat.
  • Whether the threat of an assault was imminent.
  • Whether either party was armed with a dangerous weapon or object.

Contact the ABDO LAW FIRM for comprehensive criminal legal representation if you are accused of any misdemeanor or felony in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne or St. Clair County. Legal entanglements are often manageable. All it takes is one phone call to get answers to your most pressing legal questions and immediate attention to your legal problem by attorneys with the highest legal ratings.

Matthew S. Abdo, Super Lawyer, Top Ranked Criminal Defense Lawyer.
Cy M. Abdo, Martindale Hubbell, highest possible rating for integrity and legal ability.