The Justification Defense in Brooklyn

Self-defense or “justification” is an affirmative defense that allows you to address charges where you’ve been accused of harming another. It most often comes up as a defense in assault cases but can be used for murder cases as well.

Unfortunately, raising the justification defense is much more complex than simply telling police officers that you were defending yourself. This defense may help you in court but often will not prevent your arrest. 

Remember, you should never try to talk to the police. Always invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and ask for your lawyer, no matter how justified your actions might have been.

Justified Violence Under the Law

To prove you acted in self-defense, you must show:

  1. Your belief that force was necessary was reasonable.
  2. The threat was imminent.
  3. The force you used was proportional to the threat.
  4. You must not be the “initial aggressor.

You can also invoke the justification defense if you acted to prevent a crime.

If you claim you were acting in self-defense, the prosecution must prove that you do not meet these conditions. You don’t have to prove that you meet these conditions, but it is important to provide any evidence you can to support your claim.

Is there a duty to retreat in Brooklyn?

In most cases, you have a duty to retreat if you can do so with “complete personal safety” for yourself or others. 

Of course, assessing whether one can retreat in complete personal safety is highly subjective, and it’s hard to say whether one would be charged or convicted. Much will depend on the specific facts of your case. 

You have no duty to retreat if you have reason to believe the person you assaulted was committing one of the following crimes:

  • Robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Any forcible sexual act

You also have no duty to retreat if the assault or attack is taking place in your own home, so long as the person committing the assault or attack does not also live in the home. 

Call Your Brooklyn Defense Attorney Today

A successful justification defense requires help from an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you’re in trouble, don’t count on your innocence or your justification to save you.

Contact Neil S. Ruskin, attorney at law, to get immediate help today.

See also:

4 Mistakes to Avoid When You Get Arrested in Brooklyn

What Happens When You Confess to a Crime in Brooklyn, NY?

How to Exercise Your 5th Amendment Rights After Getting Arrested in Brooklyn, NY

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Neil S. Ruskin
188 Montague Street Suite 900
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Local: (718) 237-1547
Fax: 718-875-4011