Arguments happen. If things escalate, the other person may physically assault you. As an American, you have a right to defend yourself. Self-defense is not illegal, and it is a common defense when facing charges for injuring someone else.

After all, the police officers who arrested you likely did not see much of the event. They arrived at the end and saw the aftermath. What you did may have been perfectly legal, but they may just arrest everyone involved and sort it out after the fact.

If you do make a self-defense claim, remember that an important part of the equation is using a reasonable amount of a force, or a “sufficient level of counteracting force.” Using too much force could lead to legal charges, even if you didn’t start the physical altercation.

For instance, say the person who attacks you pulls out a deadly weapon, like a knife or a firearm. You may then be allowed to protect yourself with deadly force, if needed. Perhaps you legally carry a gun and have the ability to do so. But, if that same person simply throws a drunken punch without a weapon, and you use the same type of self-defense, you may create some serious legal issues for yourself. It could be alleged that your actions were so extreme, considering what you faced, that they were not actually necessary.

If you are facing these types of allegations, no doubt you have thought about what it is going to mean for your future, and it could be serious. You absolutely must know what defense options you have when you go to court.