An Arizona woman is claiming self-defense against allegations that she assaulted her teenage daughter. According to the report, the 40-year-old woman allegedly slapped the teen in her face, bit her nose, and hit her legs with a plastic hanger after an argument about household chores turned physical. In claiming self-defense, the woman said that because her daughter got into her face, the woman slapped the teen and then the physical altercation ensued.
Seattle based domestic violence defense attorney Steve Karimi explains the claim of self-defense and when it can be used to defend against domestic violence charges.
What Does It Mean to Claim Self-Defense Against Domestic Violence Charges?
In some cases, defendants are unfairly charged with domestic violence when they act in self-defense against the violent acts of another person. In Washington, domestic violence is charged when there is an incident of assault between family or household members. A household or family member can be a spouse, domestic partner, grandparent, stepparent, or child.
Self-defense is not a crime in Washington, and defendants should not face criminal charges for protecting themselves. According to state law, it is legal to use violence in self-defense so long as the violent act is reasonable and the person is defending himself or herself, his or her family, or his or her real or personal property, or coming to the aid of another who is in imminent danger of or the victim of an assault. Because self-defense is an affirmative defense, you are required to prove to the judge that your act of self-defense was reasonable and necessary for protection.
What is a Reasonable Act?
The reasonableness of an act of self-defense in a domestic violence incident--whether it's a slap, punch, push, or kick--depends on the threat you're facing. A judge may find that you were acting in self-defense if you kicked or pushed a family member or a household member who tried to hit you. However, the use of violence as a response to verbal abuse may not be considered reasonable by the court. Generally, a reasonable act of self-defense is less violent or equally extreme as the threat involved.
What Happens If I'm Found Not Guilty of Domestic Violence Charges?
If a defendant is found not guilty of domestic violence charges because the court finds that they acted in self-defense, the state of Washington is required to reimburse the defendant for all reasonable costs, including loss of time, legal fees incurred, and other expenses involved in his or her defense.
Contact Seattle Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
Charges of assault against a family or household member can be difficult to defend against, especially if you were acting in self-defense. If you are charged with domestic violence in Washington, it's in your best interest to contact an experienced domestic violence defense attorney. Founded by a former prosecutor, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi in Seattle can assist you in defending against unfair charges. Call us at (206) 621-8777 for a free consultation.