Can you be lawfully chargedwith assault and battery with a dangerous weapon if you were trying to protect yourself?

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Can you be lawfully chargedwith assault and battery with a dangerous weapon if you were trying to protect yourself?

I was dropping my sister (age 14) and her friend (also 14) off at the friend’s house when 3 guys came off the sidewalk and started trying to open my door. They started to also hit me and said that Iwas goning die. My sister’s friend had 1 foot on the ground and 1 foot in the truck. I have a lifted truck so if I used my option to leave the area immediately she would have been run over. I got out with a baseball bat and warned them to stop so I could leave. That’s when 1 of the guys said, “Yeah right kid ” and then all 3 approached me. So I swung at their legs, and got 1 in the ribs.

Asked on December 6, 2010 under Criminal Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can be charged if the authorities believe that you resorted to force when you did not have to. For example, if they believe you swung the bat before it was clear that you were facing an imminent attack; or kept hitting when the danger of an attack was over; or that by getting out of the vehicle you instigated the attack; or could have safely left, such as by your sister's friend getting back in the truck with you; etc. It depends on the circumstances and how the authorities interpret them. If you are charged, get a criminal defense attorney and do not speak to the authorities (exercise your constitutional right against self-incrimination) until you speak with your own lawyer.


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