Is a man not allowed to defend himself in an incident of domestic abuse?

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Is a man not allowed to defend himself in an incident of domestic abuse?

Two weeks ago my wife was drinking. We got into an argument and she attacked me, punching me in my privates, hitting and scratching me. I pushed her to get her off of me. She hit her foot on a piece of furniture. She went to the hospital and they X-rayedher foot which just showed bruising. The police came to the ER. She told them that she was hitting me and I pushed her. The next day they arrested me. Now I have to appear in court on domestic abuse charge. What can I do? Charges were imposed by the state and not my wife. Does a man now have to allow a woman to assault him? Should I speak with a criminal defense attorney? I’m in Chesterfield, VA.

Asked on August 10, 2010 under Family Law, Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Self-defense is a defense to many an action.  But the facts and the circumstances that surround each incident will determine its use in a court proceeding against them.  Yes, I think that you should definitely seek legal help as soon as you can.  There are general principles of law that carry from state to state one of which is using reasonable force to defend against the force coming at you.  In other words, shooting someone to defend against a punch in the face.  Self-defense maybe, reasonable no.  You also have her statements made to the police in the ER which were hopefully written down correctly at the time.  Your attorney should be able to help you with obtaining them.  Good luck. 


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