Self-defense is what is referred to in legal jargon as an “affirmative defense.” In layman’s terms, it means that although you did commit a criminal offense, something about the circumstances makes you not guilty of the offense in the eyes of the law. In the case of self-defense, the fact that you were protecting yourself or another person can turn a criminal offense, such as murder, into justifiable legal conduct. When can you claim self-defense though?
Whether or not the affirmative defense of self-defense is a viable defense to the crime for which you have been accused depends heavily on the circumstances surrounding your actions. In general, in both Kansas and Missouri, you may be justified in using force against another if you reasonably believe it is necessary in order to defend yourself, or a third person, against the imminent use of unlawful force by another person. Sometimes, your right to use force is apparent from the surrounding circumstances.
If the State has charged you with a crime, however, your right to defend yourself is clearly in question. In that case, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side who understands how to prove the elements of a self-defense claim. Do not allow the State to convict you of a crime when you were defending yourself or another person!
Heath Stuart strongly believes in your right to defend yourself and your loved ones and he is committed to meticulously and aggressively defending that right both in and out of the courtroom.