What is Self Defense? : A Summary of its Definition, Types and Basic Techniques

What is self-defense? In legal terms, it pertains to the person’s right of physically defending himself from any bodily harm. There are some jurisdictions and cases where self-defense also pertains to the right of defending a 3rd person from physical harm or defending one’s own home.

Generally, self-defense can be applied in two situations: when a person was physically attacked and even when he was just threatened by the other person. It is known to be present in various crimes including assault, battery, kidnapping, homicide, robbery and etc.

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What are the circumstances where self-defense can be considered as appropriate? How much physical force does a person need in order for him to say that it’s just a form of self-defense? Most number of states has a list of requirements that can help in determining if the act of self-defense is lawful and appropriate. Kindly see them below:

• The victim must defend himself in a reasonable and proportionate amount of physical force
• The victim didn’t start the altercation and provocation.
• There must be an immediate threat of physical harm (self-defense is not an acceptable reason for defending oneself in future situations)
• In cases where the victim has to do it because it’s the only way to retreat or escape the situation.

In situations where the victim used a deadly weapon to defend himself, it’s never justifiable unless the aggressor initially threatened the victim with a deadly weapon too.

Now that the question of “What is self defense?” has already been answered, the next question would be: what are the two types of self-defense? Generally, self-defense can be classified into two: perfect and imperfect.

Perfect self-defense is a situation where the victim responded with a reasonable and appropriate amount of physical force to the attacker. Example of this would be responding to attacker’s punches with punches as well.

Imperfect self-defense is a situation where the victim responded to the attacker with more physical force. Example of this would be responding with a gun when the attacker just attacked the victim with punches.

Sometimes, there are instances where imperfect self-defense requires a detailed analysis of facts in the situation. A concrete example of this would be responding with a shooting gun because the attacker has brass knuckles on his fist while throwing punches. If that situation is found reasonable by the court, then it’s considered as justifiable. The victim can also get a lower sentence if the imperfect self-defense is justifiable to use with regards to dealing the aggressor.

If the situation is really unavoidable, don’t hesitate to fight back. Here are the basic techniques of self-defense that can help people in protecting themselves against the aggressors:

• Shout and push the aggressor back. This is the simplest form of self-defense. Shouting and pushing the aggressor back should be done because of two things: to get the attention of others and to let the aggressor know that he’s not going to have an easy target.
• Use body parts that are most effective in inflicting damage. Typically, these are the knees, elbows and even head.
• Capitalize on using everyday objects around. Whether it’s a hairspray, pen, umbrella, powder, pipe, rock or a piece of wood, use it as long as it can provide a much stronger defense against the aggressor.

Laws about self-defense are often complicated and not easy to understand. Call a qualified attorney immediately if there’s a need for assistance on situations that involve self-defense. Not only that he can help the victim in making sense of the laws, he can also represent the victim in court proceedings.

Christopher Garcia