Englewood, CO asked in Criminal Law for Colorado

Q: Do I have a case for self-defense?

I was recently involved in an altercation with a past friend. We were at his house and I was asleep on the couch when he, obviously intoxicated, began yelling at me to get up and began to ask me questions about a person and matter I didn’t have a clue about. As I get up he headbutts me in the chest and punches me in the side. As a reaction I punched him in his face about 3 times, causing a small laceration above his eye and giving him a black eye. I backed away and the altercation ended with an apology from both of us. About 30 minutes later I laid back down. Then about an hour later I’m awoke to police arresting me, none of which asked me a single question or my side of the story and I was taken to jail. During this time, from shortly after they arrived to leaving jail, I invoked my rights and didn’t say a single thing to officers. I’m being charged with 3rd degree assault, trespassing-unlawful remaining and criminal mischief. I wasnt askd to leave and I didn’t break anything. Advice?

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2 Lawyer Answers
John Gregory Scott
John Gregory Scott PRO label
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Leadville, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Based upon the factual scenario you have described it sounds like self-defense is a viable argument. Self-defense is an affirmative defense and must be raised prior to trial. There must be some evidence presented at trial relating to the defense or else the judge will not provide the instruction to the jury.

If the affirmative defense of self-defense is presented at trial, the prosecution must prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you were not acting in self-defense.

1 user found this answer helpful

John Gregory Scott
John Gregory Scott PRO label
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Leadville, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: Based upon the factual scenario you have described it sounds like self-defense is a viable argument. Self-defense is an affirmative defense and must be raised prior to trial. There must be some evidence presented at trial relating to the defense or else the judge will not provide the instruction to the jury.

If the affirmative defense of self-defense is presented at trial, the prosecution must prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you were not acting in self-defense.

There are a few theories of prosecution related to assault charges that may affect this analysis (e.g., reckless conduct). It is always wise to consult with an attorney to ensure that your factual scenario will permit the defense.

1 user found this answer helpful

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