The elements of a successful defense claim are, innocence, imminence, proportionality, avoidance and finally, reasonableness. Literally everything you do during a self-defense incident must be considered “reasonable” by law enforcement and the court if it goes that far. The jury will use a “theoretical” reasonable person in which to compare you. I believe this comparison will be skewed by what the individual jury members see as reasonable in their own perceptions. Being manipulated by two skillful attorneys, the jury will attempt to decide whether or not a reasonable person would have believed and behaved as you did under the same circumstances. Will they believe you were innocent of any provocation? Will they agree your perception of the threat was imminent? Will they believe the force you used to defend yourself was reasonable? Do they agree you took reasonable measures to avoid the conflict? They should consider any specialized knowledge you have to evaluate and respond to the threat, such as knowing an impact (knife, club, hammer, etc.) weapon can be employed in 1.5 seconds if your attacker is 21 feet away or closer. Of course, the jurors will be hearing this all from two opposing attorneys, in the comfortable and safe environment of a court room. They will not feel the adrenaline rush, stress or fear that you experienced at the time of the event. They will not feel they are fighting for their life. The best response is to avoid the incident if at all possible. Secondly, be trained and prepared to respond to the threat with the appropriate level of force. This will take some forethought on your part. Be trained, be well informed, be safe.
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