Can the victim in a felonious assault case be charged if self-defense is proven?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can the victim in a felonious assault case be charged if self-defense is proven?

My girlfriend attacked me with a knife and is being charged with felonious assault she has a lawyer and is trying to say I attacked her and have been abusing her for 2 years which is false there are pictures of my injuries and also my daughter’s testimony saying she thought my girlfriend was going to kill me. I also still have the hoodie with the knife holes.

Asked on October 20, 2018 under Criminal Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are putting the cart before the horse, so to speak: self-defense is not proven until and unless a court finds that this was a self-defense situation. Until there is a court decision or determination, nothing is "proven" in a legally binding sense. So someone can be charged if the authorties believe they committed assault, even if there is evidence of self-defense; the person can then raise self-defense as a defense to the charge at trial. Charging only requires that the authorities believe that there is reason that a reasonable person (i.e. not a stupid, crazy, or biased one) could believe that the offense was committed, but nothing is actually "proven" until trial.

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