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Our Albany criminal defense attorneys at O’Brien & Eggleston PLLC know that asserting self-defense claims when charged with murder in New York is meant to justify the individual’s actions as a necessary response to an immediate and imminent threat of harm.

By demonstrating that they reasonably believed their use of force was essential to protect themselves or others from serious injury or death, defendants aim to show that their actions were legally justified. Successfully proving self-defense can lead to acquittal, as it negates the unlawfulness of the act, emphasizing the individual’s right to protect themselves in life-threatening situations.

Our Albany County violent crime defense lawyers also know that while the prosecution has the burden of proof to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s use of force was unjustified, proving it was justified can be exceptionally difficult without a skilled defense lawyer. We can help.

Murder Charges

What are the Primary Elements of Self-Defense for Murder Charges in New York?

New York law allows individuals to use reasonable force, including deadly force, to defend themselves or others when they reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, serious physical injury, kidnapping, or certain sexual offenses.

To successfully assert a self-defense claim, the defendant must demonstrate:

  • Reasonable Belief: The defendant must convincingly show that they had a reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary to prevent imminent death or severe injury. This belief must be both subjectively genuine and objectively reasonable to the jury.
  • Imminence of Threat: The defendant must demonstrate that the threat was immediate and unavoidable, which can be difficult if there is any indication that the defendant could have safely retreated or de-escalated the situation.
  • Proportionality: The force used must be proportional to the threat faced. If the defendant’s response is deemed excessive, the self-defense claim may be rejected.
  • Evidence and Witnesses: The success of a self-defense claim often hinges on the availability of credible evidence and witnesses who can corroborate the defendant’s account of the events.
  • Jury Perception: The defendant’s ability to present a compelling and credible narrative is crucial. If the jury perceives inconsistencies or doubts the sincerity of the self-defense claim, they may be less likely to accept it.

Contact Our Attorney at O’Brien & Eggleston PLLC Today

Given these complexities, proving self-defense requires a well-prepared legal strategy, credible evidence, and, often, expert testimony to support the defendant’s claims. If you have been charged with murder, contact our Albany criminal defense attorneys at O’Brien & Eggleston PLLC today by calling (518)-391-2369 or online to ensure your rights are protected from the start. We have a strong track record of producing real results for our clients. Allow us to pursue the best outcome for your case, too.

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