CanI get sued for battery for defending myself againt an attacker?

UPDATED: Aug 1, 2011

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CanI get sued for battery for defending myself againt an attacker?

I was at a sports bar the other night and I went to get a steak sandwich and have a drink. While it was being made I ordered the sandwich to go. As Istood there drinking my drink, this guy came out of nowhere and shoved me almost knocking me on my rearend and and spilling my drink. He went to the bathroom and I followed. I opened the door and said, “Hey ma,n what was that all about?” He said, “Shut up and get the F out of my face”. With that he went to strike me again. I reacted by hitting him over the head with my drink. Can he file battery charges against me for defending myself against him?

Asked on August 1, 2011 California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Battery is the harmful or offensive touching of the person of another without consent or legal privilege.  Self-defense is a defense to battery.  Self-defense requires using that degree of force reasonably necessary to defend yourself.  It would appear that the amount of force you used was reasonably necessary to terminate the attack.  If that is the case, then you would have a defense to a lawsuit filed against you for battery or to criminal charges for battery.  You could also sue your attacker for assault and battery.  You could also press criminal charges against your attacker for assault and battery.

Assault and battery are both civil (lawsuit) and criminal charges.  The civil and criminal cases are separate matters.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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