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Is it still considered battery if it was done in self-defense?

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2022 | Battery And Assault

In Illinois and other areas, a person could be charged with battery if they inflict unwanted force on someone else’s body. The force doesn’t necessarily have to result in injury. However, there are some situations that might make the action self-defense.

Elements of battery

If a person is charged with criminal battery, the prosecution would have to prove that certain elements are present in the case. The first is that the defendant voluntarily committed a physical act against the victim.

The second element is that the physical act was a type of force against the victim that caused them to be in fear for their safety. Another, indirect mechanism to perpetrate the force could be used. For example, the defendant was walking a dog and had the dog snap, growl and lunge at the victim.

The third element is that the physical contact was harmful or offensive to the victim. The force doesn’t have to be severe. For example, if the defendant brushed up against the victim while passing them and it offended that person, it is still considered an element of battery.

Self-defense for battery

Sometimes, self-defense is a legitimate claim in a case involving battery. However, it means that the defendant must have been on the receiving end of force and the force they used back was equal to that. They must not have acted first.

Coercion is sometimes a defense against battery charges. If the defendant was under the threat of harm to their own safety or a loved one was threatened, a self-defense claim could be valid. Privilege can be argued if the defendant is required to use force for their job. For example, police officers may have to commit battery in certain situations.