Arguing coupleThis is the next post in my series on the handling of domestic violence cases in Long Island, New York. My last article discussed how search and seizure issues can impact a domestic violence charge. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for law enforcement to violate an individual’s Miranda rights while responding the scene of an incident. Such violations may lead to one making statements against their own interests. Fortunately, the law provides remedies to such violations. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you to explore your options. In this article I will discuss another important issue – the possibility of claiming self-defense in such cases. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

New York grants residents the right to defend themselves

New York is like other states in that it gives individuals the right to defend themselves from violence. This is true even if the person you are defending yourself from is your spouse or significant other. If you are attacked or facing assault then you are allowed to use the amount of force which is necessary to defend yourself. The key to this rule is that one may use “necessary” force. This means, for example, that if one is about to be hit with a punch, then they may shove the individual away or use just enough force to stop the attack. If the individual who is about to be shoved assaults the attacker with a baseball bat then, for obvious reasons, the Court would be likely to rule that such for was excessive and does not constitute “self-defense.”

Long Island residents may claim self-defense in a domestic violence case

Long Island police officers will attempt to determine which party was the “primary aggressor” when they respond to a domestic disturbance. The officers will make this determination after speaking with the parties, any potential witnesses, and assessing any other evidence which is immediately available. Unfortunately, there are instances in which the police get it wrong. This can result in officers arresting a party who was simply defending themselves from another’s attack. Fortunately, it is the Court (and sometimes a jury) who decides whether the defendant was acting in self-defense.

The establishment of a self-defense claim will depend on the specifics of the case. There may have been witnesses to the matter. There may also be other evidence which indicates that the defendant was simply defending themselves. Such evidence can include looking at which party has bruising or other injuries, the extent to which any injuries are consistent with one party’s story, and past conduct of the parties. In order to fully evaluate your options, and to understand whether you have a valid self-defense claim, it is strongly suggested that you speak with a criminal defense lawyer.

If you have been arrested for domestic violence then contact my office to speak with a Long Island lawyer. I am a former public defender who believes that everyone is entitled to a vigorous defense. We are ready to assist you. My office also serves Kings County residents in Brooklyn, residents of Queens, those in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, as well as people in other New York areas.