If you have been accused of a violent crime, you may use a criminal defense strategy to combat the charges you are facing. Self-defense, if properly established, can be one of the most effective strategies against domestic violence charges. However, proving that you were acting in self-defense may be difficult in certain cases.
How can I prove self-defense?
Self-defense essentially means that you used physical force against another person to protect yourself, someone else, or your property from harm. Under Oregon law, self-defense is an effective defense strategy only in certain situations.
Defense of premises
If you used force to defend your building or other premises that you possess or control, you must show that you reasonably believed that the force you used was necessary to stop another person from committing or attempting to commit criminal trespass.
Defense of property
In cases where you used force to defend property (e.g., real estate or personal possessions), you must establish that you reasonably believed the force you used was necessary to stop the other person from committing or attempting to commit theft or criminal mischief.
Defense of a person
In cases where you used force to defend yourself or another person, you must establish that you used reasonable force with the reasonable belief that the other person would use or imminently use unlawful physical force against you or a third party. The force you use must not exceed what you believe to be reasonably necessary.
Keep in mind that under ORS 161.209, you are generally not allowed to use deadly force, unless you reasonably believe the other person is:
- Using or planning to use physical force against someone; or
- Committing or attempting a burglary at a dwelling; or
- Committing or attempting a felony while using force or a threat of imminent force against someone.
A self-defense strategy often hinges on the testimony of the parties involved in the altercation and the circumstances surrounding the altercation. Carefully review your case to determine the ideal criminal defense strategy for you.