If I have medical records showing injuries from a domestic violence incident, is that proof of self-defense?

I was in a scuffle with my significant other. We both struck each other at some point, however, I was the one that received most of the damage. I managed to get away from him and I left my apartment and called the police. The police came to my apartment and ended up arresting me because I had used a metal rod to strike him on the side of his body after he had started

attacking me and the police told me that I used a weapon so I was the aggressor. My boyfriend was not arrested. I spent 6 days in jail and did not receive any medical attention for my injuries. The police had never asked me for my side of the story before I was arrested. During the incident, my boyfriend had me pinned down on 2 occasions, once on my stomach while

he was repeatedly punching me in the back and the second time he pushed me into the bathtub and had my pinned down on my back and was punching me repeatedly in the face to the point where I was almost unconscious. At some point he turned the water on in the tub while he was striking me and I became extremely concerned for my life. Despite the fact that I was beginning to black out, I managed to start screaming at the top of my lungs. At this point he stopped attacking. This is when I was able to get up and go outside and call the police. After spending 6 days in jail, I went to the emergency room after I was bailed out. Most of my bruises at this point had healed but I still had a partial black eye and a couple of other bruises. The hospital performed CT scans and X-rays on my face/head and ribs because I was complaining of rib pain. The CT scans showed that I have a fractured facial bone and I have bone fragments inside of my sinus cavity which would explain why I was blowing out blood from my nose for 5 days while I was in jail. The X-ray of my ribs did not show any fracture so they determined that it was probably just bruised. I have lost feeling to some of my teeth on one side of my mouth and they referred me to a maxillofacial oral specialist and told me to follow up with him in a month if I do not regain feeling of my teeth. They said the fracture is in the area of a nerve that runs into my mouth and affects the feeling of my teeth. I have a pre-indictment hearing coming up and I am just wondering what I should do. Any information is appreciated.

Asked on May 22, 2016 under Criminal Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

What you should do is hire a criminal defense attorney right away--if you are facing charges of hitting him with a weapon (a metal rod), you could in theory be looking at well over a year in jail.
No, the medical records do not *prove* self defense in and of themselves, though they can bolster or support your claim of self defense by providing corrobating evidence. The reason they do not by themselves prove self defense is that--
1) Any injuries incurred before the date of the metal rod incident do not entitle you to strike him later: i.e. , if he hits you Monday, its not self defense to hit him Tuesday. Therefore, any injuries older than the date you hit him with the metal rod do not show self defense.
2) Any injuries from the same date as the metal rod do not automatically prove that you defended yourself becasue you could have gotten those injuries if you attacked him and he fought back to defend himself.
So while the injuries may support your version of events, do not count on them to carry the day for you.


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