i have been charged assault4(oregon) and only hit the guy once to protect a female friends for being hit by a another guy, can i plead self defense?

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i have been charged assault4(oregon) and only hit the guy once to protect a female friends for being hit by a another guy, can i plead self defense?

i came out of a bar at 2:30am and looked down the street to see a fight happening. i ran up and it was my female friend and another girl. there were 4 other guys around and 3 were my friends. i was trying to calm everyone down and as i was trying to keep the girls apart a guy lunged at my female friend like he was going to hit her. i reacted and hit the guy in the face. he falls straight on his face. He ends up with 13 stiches. i didn’t know what else to do to stop him from hitting her. also afterwards i found out that he may have already hit her one other time.

Asked on May 5, 2009 under Criminal Law, Oregon

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Oregon recognizes defense of another person as a justification for punching someone, although usually that is the misdemeanor of simple assault. It is not easy to get the benefit of that, because it usually works only when the person didn't start the fight, and used no more force than necessary, along with other things such as the incident not being planned or set up. You might be able to persuade a court to accept this, if you testified to what you've said here, and if you're believed.

You can count on the other fellow to have a different version of what happened, it might be different enough that you could ask if he was talking about the same night. There's also a good chance that he will get a lawyer, and he may sue you. The outcome of your criminal trial could be used in the civil suit, especially if you are found guilty.

I very strongly recommend that you talk to a good attorney about this, as soon as possible. If you need to find a lawyer, you can do that at http://attorneypages.com


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