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Can you use self-defense to protect someone else?

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

In many cases where people are accused of assault or some other violent action, the reason that they give is self-defense. They know that they didn’t want to act in such an aggressive or violent manner, but they were afraid that they would be harmed by the other party, and they used the amount of force necessary to protect themselves. This is a valid reason to use force and can get the charges dropped if it’s true.

But what if someone else is in danger? For instance, say that you’re out on a date with your significant other, someone threatens them, and you step in to defend this person that you care about. If you get arrested for your actions, can you still claim self-defense even though you weren’t protecting yourself?

Self-defense can still apply

As you may have assumed, this is still legal. You are able to act in self-defense for yourself or in defense of another. In most cases, this means someone that you know, but it is technically possible to act in the defense of someone you haven’t even met. If you see that they need help, you may be able to act appropriately and protect them.

However, situations like that can get tricky. You don’t necessarily know what happened. If you simply see two people involved in a physical confrontation, how do you know who started it? Who is really the aggressor? Would you be stepping in on the side of someone who started the confrontation and who is criminally guilty of assault themselves?

You can see that this can get fairly complicated, but you do have a right to defend yourself and others when necessary. Make sure that you know what legal steps to take if you are accused of a violent crime, and exercise your right to remain silent until you can fully evaluate your defense options.