Most of us have been a part of a disagreement at one time or another. In the vast majority of these instances, the dispute resolves with the exchange of words and maybe some hurt feelings. But in a small percentage of cases, physical altercations ensue. This can result in criminal charges being filed, and a conviction on those charges can lead to the imposition of serious penalties.

If you’re in this position and want to avoid jail and the harm that comes with a criminal record, then you need to know how to defend yourself. One option you might have is claiming self-defense. Under Connecticut law, you can use reasonable force to protect yourself or another individual from the use of physical force. However, in order to properly raise this defense, you have to show that your belief that physical force was about to be utilized by the perpetrator was reasonable, and that the amount of force utilized to protect yourself was reasonable given the circumstances.

Connecticut law also allows for the use of deadly force to protect yourself or another individual, but only in extraordinary circumstances. To successfully argue self-defense that resulted in the use of deadly force, you need to present evidence that you reasonably believed that the other individual was about to use deadly force or cause serious bodily injury. Also, individuals in Connecticut have a duty to retreat so as to avoid the necessity of deadly force, meaning deadly force can be an option only when fleeing is not. Additionally, deadly force can’t be used if you are the instigator of an altercation.

Defending against violent offenses, whether assault and battery or murder, can be frightening. But criminal defense options may be available to you. To give yourself the best possible chance of beating aggressive prosecutors and avoiding penalties, you may want to consider having a strong legal advocate on your side who knows how to use the law to your advantage.