Can I face domestic violence charges for defending myself?

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Can I face domestic violence charges for defending myself?

I have had several occasions with my wife being very aggressive toward me. She likes to push and shove me, pin me into corners and occasionally hit. At times I have had to push her back or restrain her to get it to stop. About 7 months ago, I had an issues where she punched me in the head and I did push her away and bumped her with my head to stop it. I have never slapped or hit her. She is now trying to press charges from the incident. Will a County Attorney pursue charges if I was defending myself and so much time has lapsed. No police where called at that time.

Asked on May 6, 2012 under Criminal Law, Iowa

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is going to be your word against hers but I would not take the chance and defend yourself should they file charges.  Even if you claim that you were just defending yourself (self defense) from the attack the court will look at whether or not your defense was reasonable under the circumstances, probably taking in to account your size versus hers, etc.  Good luck.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Self-defense is a defense to a charges of assault or battery. Whether a prosecutor will bring charges when there is a claim of self-defense depends on whether he or she believes it was actually legally justified self-defense, which in turn depends on how believable you and your wife are; whether and to what extent you each of you have prior records for violence; how intimidating each of you are physically (e.g. if you are a 250 lb man and she is 150 lb woman, many prosecutors may believe, even if wrongfully, that you had no need to "defend" yourself against her); etc. It depends entirely on the circumstances.


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