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Can a Man Use Self Defense Against a Woman in a Domestic Violence Case?

Self%20Defense.jpgWhat happens if you are forced to defend yourself against your domestic partner and she calls the police on you? Is self defense a legal justification for the use of force, even if you’re a man and your domestic partner is a woman? In California, the answer is yes.

California prosecutes domestic violence aggressively, but the violent party isn’t always a man. The law recognizes that women can be guilty of domestic violence, and if you are in fear of imminent bodily harm or of being unlawfully touched, you can use force to defend yourself.

If you are forced to defend yourself against your wife or girlfriend’s physical assault, and she then calls the police on you, you can assert that you acted in self defense.

What Elements Constitute Self Defense in California?

According to California Criminal Jury instructions (CALCRIM 3470) 1 use of force is justified if

  • You reasonably believed you were in immediate danger of being injured or touched unlawfully
  • Immediate use of force was necessary to defend yourself, and
  • You didn’t use more force than was necessary to defend yourself from the attack.

Further, if you’ve been threatened or harmed by your domestic partner in the past, you may be justified in acting quicker and with more force to ward off another attack.

I Was Taught that a Man is Not Supposed to Hit a Woman

It’s true that it is always a better option to leave before an argument gets violent, whether you are arguing with a woman or a man. But once somebody threatens you with violence, you have a right to stand your ground and defend yourself until the danger has passed, even if you also have an opportunity to retreat.

What Happens if the Other Party is Injured?

If you were in imminent danger and you acted in self defense, it’s possible that your spouse will be left with a bruise or other injury. If you used reasonable force to defend yourself, self defense is justifiable even if she sustains an injury. A jury may consider any or all of the following:

  • What she did to threaten you or put you in fear of harm
  • How much force was necessary to ward off the attack
  • Whether she has a violent history

What if I was Defending Someone Else?

If another person, like a guest in your home or one of your kids, was in imminent danger of attack from your domestic partner, you have a right to use force to defend them. The same rules apply as if you were defending yourself.

Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or a loved one has been charged with domestic violence, you need to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending people facing domestic violence charges.

With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5425 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.


1. [https://www.justia.com/criminal/docs/calcrim/3400/3470.html]

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About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.