If you practice self-defense of any kind, you know that you need to be aware of your surroundings at all times. It’s one of the first things you learn.
However, once you’ve learned the basics of self-defense, you also need to be aware of the legal repercussions of your actions.
Take a moment to read about “proportionality” and what it means for you.
What is Proportionality?
Proportionality refers to a principle of law that takes each situation’s circumstances into account. Basically, it means that all circumstances are weighed, and each case is evaluated on its own merits.
When it comes to using force, proportionality refers to the fact that you’re allowed to defend yourself, but the amount of force should be just enough to allow you to escape and remain safe.
Too Much Force
When you are attacked, you have a right to fight back and defend your life – in most cases.
However, some people go too far. They let rage and emotion get in the way of common sense.
While your emotions will run high if you have to defend yourself, you always need to keep your cool.
Using too much force can be used against you by the person, even if they initiated the attack.
They can claim that you didn’t need to harm them to the extent that you did, so make sure you only act enough to ensure you can get out unharmed.
Handling All Situations
When it comes to self-defense, every situation is different.
You need to understand how to give back a dose of the attacker’s own medicine in a proportional way.
This is just something you have to use your instinct with.
The first rule is to do whatever you can to avoid the fight.
Then, if you are in a physical altercation, try to distract them so you can run away.
If you do have to fight, then only use as much force as is necessary to incapacitate them – again, use only enough for you to be able to flee again.
Do you know the definition of “wrongful death”?
Wrongful death is when someone takes you to court claiming that you caused the death of someone else during a crime.
Unfortunately, if you do have a proportional response when someone attacks you, it could lead to their death. Depending on your specific circumstances, you might be charged with wrongful death.
However, being charged with a crime doesn’t mean you’re guilty of the crime.
If this should happen to you, immediately seek competent legal counsel.
Remember that, in the United States, you are innocent until proven guilty. Also, never speak to the police unless your lawyer advises you to do so.
When it comes to defending yourself, whether you are a martial artist or an average Joe walking the streets, self-defense is never a joking matter.
Don’t leave your life in someone else’s hands by failing to protect your legal future, not just your health.
Understand proportionality, so you know when and how to fight back in every scenario.
Check out these two other articles on similar topics, and be sure to read them to better understand how to react to situations you might find yourself in: The 5 Most Common Injuries in Self-Defense Situations, and Why It’s Important to Use Self-Defense Techniques Responsibly.