Being able to protect yourself is super important, that being said there are some truly gray areas when it comes to self-defense and use of a weapon like pepper spray. Pepper spray, while not lethal, can cause damage to those that are sprayed with it and if you are using it for self-defense you may be able to get away with using it. Though self-defense is perfectly legal, you may need some help defending yourself I you acted in self-defense.
What is Self-Defense?
In order to better understand what you might be doing when you do defend yourself, it is helpful to look at what the legal definition of self-defense is. Self-defense is defined as the defending of one’s person or interests, especially in reference to the use of physical force. This can even be deadly force in some cases in which you feel that your life is in danger and you have to use lethal force to get the attacker to leave you alone. There are special self-defense laws that are set for each state and area that help to better define what constitutes self-defense in that locality.
Why is Pepper Spray Considered a Weapon?
Using pepper spray is a non-lethal way to deter someone from assaulting you or bothering you. Pepper spray is considered a weapon because it can do physical harm to the person that is sprayed. Pepper spray is a compound that is made of oils, namely capsaicin, or peppers from oils. This is a very spicy, very irritating and it can cause problems with vision, breathing and can even cause some people to have panic attacks. When you are being assaulted, when someone is pursuing you, or when you feel like you are in danger, pepper spray is a far better option than something more deadly like a gun.
When you are dealing with someone that is attacking you or is making you feel unsafe, pepper spray can help you to get away, to subdue the person that is assaulting you, and to feel safe again. Pepper spray can be used safely and can be used to deter someone but when you are using it in self-defense, it can be tricky to prove.
What to Do if You Get a Charge from Using Pepper Spray in Self-Defense?
If you use pepper spray as a means of protecting yourself the first thing you should do is make sure you contact a lawyer. A lawyer is going to be able to help you collect any information or any eyewitness accounts that can be collected. In most cases, when you are being charged for using pepper spray in self-defense, the charge is going to come after the fact and after the event is over.
In terms of using pepper spray for defense, the person that attacked you can always come back against you and claim that you attacked them rather than the other way around. When you do get attacked or have to use pepper as self-defense you should make sure that you are clearly outlining what happened with the officers or the emergency personnel that responds after the fact. It can be difficult to get your bearings and to calm down after you are attacked but taking the time to talk with police and file a report can truly help you later on down the line.
You should speak with a lawyer to help you build your case, to determine what sort of proof or evidence you need, and to be able to make sure that all that you are reporting is factual and true. Depending on where you live, the laws regarding self-defense may be different. Your lawyer can help you to determine if the use of pepper spray was self-defense, what information you need to make sure your case is solid and can also help you to make sure you are ok and able to proceed.
Self-defense can be rather murky when it comes to the overall process and what is going to be considered self-defense. The best thing you can do is to gather eyewitness accounts that show that you are in the right and that you did act in your own interest and that you were not just spraying pepper spray just because. Use of pepper spray can be considered assault in some cases but if you can prove that it was self-defense you should be fine and you should be able to get away without worrying about going to prison or getting a criminal charge for defending yourself.
Your lawyer can better enumerate the different elements of your case that are going to help you build a strong case and they are going to be able to help you build a case. It can be so difficult to make a self-defense case but taking the time to speak with an attorney can help you to get a great case that is going to be fool proof, that is going to help you to stay on top of any charges that you have, and that is going to help you get your charges dismissed.
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