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Defending Against Assault and Battery Charges: Claiming Self Defense

Posted on in Criminal Law

Defending Against Assault and Battery Charges: Claiming Self DefenseOne of the most common defenses people use when they are fighting assault and/or battery charges is claiming that they were acting in self-defense. In some situations, this may be a legitimate defense, but many people do not realize that there are certain elements that must be proven if you want to succeed with a claim of self-defense. 

Illinois recognizes that there are certain situations that citizens may be put into that require the use of force against another person. Because of this, there are stipulations in the Criminal Code of 2012 that allow a person to use force against another person, as long as it is legally justifiable. If you plan to use self-defense as your claim against assault and/or battery charges, you need an attorney who has experience with self-defense claims.

Illinois Self Defense Laws

The Illinois Criminal Code of 2012 states that people can legally use force against others if they reasonably believe that the use of force is necessary to protect themselves or someone else against a person’s use of unlawful force. This means that you are permitted to use force against another person as long as it was actually necessary and you had no other way of protecting yourself.

Making a self-defense claim will only work if you can successfully prove three things:

  • The use of unlawful force by another person threatened the well-being of yourself or another person;
  • It was absolutely necessary for you to use force to protect yourself or another person; and
  • There were no other options available for you to protect yourself from the imminent force, other than to use force yourself.

Imminent Danger

One important requirement in a self-defense claim is the idea of imminent danger, which is defined as a threat of harm that is present. If the danger you faced was not an imminent danger, your claim of self-defense may not fly with the judge. 

Force vs. Deadly Force

Another important element in a self-defense claim is the differentiation between normal force and deadly force. Illinois defines deadly force as any action that is intended or is likely to cause great bodily harm. Using deadly force is only permitted in situations where you reasonably believe that the use of deadly force is required to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to yourself or another person. You are also permitted to use deadly force if you reasonably believe it is necessary to stop another person from committing a forcible felony, which includes:

  • Robbery;
  • Murder;
  • Assault or aggravated assault;
  • Domestic violence; and
  • Sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault.

A Cook County Assault and Battery Defense Attorney Can Help

Though you never want it to happen, you may be put in situations that require you to use force to protect yourself. In cases like these, claiming self-defense is the way to argue against charges of assault and/or battery. At the Law Office of John S. Fotopoulos, P.C., we can help you form a self-defense claim to any type of violent crime charge. Our skilled Orland Park, Illinois, criminal defense lawyers can help you protect your freedom and your right to protect yourself. To schedule a free consultation, do not wait – call our office today at 708-942-8400.


National Rifle Association Illinois State Bar Association Chicago Bar Association Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Cook County Bar Association National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys The John Marshall Law School Hellenic Bar Association Will County Bar Association National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
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