Can I Be Arrested For Hurting Someone In Self-Defense?

As part of your Constitutional right to life, you have the right to “security of person,” which means you have the right to protect yourself from undue harm. In terms of legal definitions, this right allows you to act in self-defense when someone tries to hurt you, such as in instances of assault and battery or domestic violence. Depending on the circumstances, self-defense rights can even extend to attempts to stop destruction or theft of property, or to the protection of others in danger.

If we all have the right to use self-defense, why are there plenty of stories of people being arrested for using self-defense? Is self-defense really a violent crime because it uses violence, even to stop other acts of violence?

No One is Actually Arrested for “Self-Defense”

It might seem odd but no one is actually arrested for acting out of self-defense since no one can be charged with self-defense as a crime. What happens when someone protects themselves from assault and then gets arrested is just a consequence of the legal system and the usual order of operations for a crime investigation.

Police officers have a duty to arrest anyone suspected of committing a criminal violation. When responding to a call involving violence and self-defense, all the officers will see if two people in a fight. At that point, both of them could theoretically be committing assault and battery, even if one person is solely acting in self-defense. The police officer needs to arrest both of them unless there is immediate and clear evidence that self-defense was a factor in one party’s actions.

When a person is taken back to the station, if they so choose, they can try to convince the police that they were acting in self-defense. If successful, they could be released from custody without ever facing any charges. Remember: Anything you do or say while in police custody can be used against you in a court of law later. If you are not confident in your ability to convince an officer that you were acting in self-defense, the correct decision might be to remain silent and get an attorney on your side as soon as possible.

If you get into trouble with the law after trying to defend yourself, your property, or your friends and family from the attack of another party, call 205.536.7770 to reach Tidwell Law Group, LLC. Our Birmingham criminal defense attorney can put 10+ years of legal experience to use for your case, working diligently and quickly to prove that you have not committed any crimes in your self-defense. Schedule a case evaluation today to learn more.