The self-defense laws in Georgia explain that you should not have to retreat if another person threatens you with harm. These laws can also protect you if you must use physical violence to defend yourself. However, self-defense claims do not always hold up in the eyes of the law.
State law explains some situations in which a court could deny an argument that it was necessary to use force.
Being the initial aggressor
It can be hard to argue a self-defense claim if you were the one who threw the first punch. According to state law, a person who acted as the aggressor might be guilty of assault unless the person withdraws from the encounter and communicates a desire to retreat but the other party decides to retaliate.
Instigating a fight
Some people instigate a fight with insults or threats so they have an excuse to seriously hurt someone and then justify the violence on the grounds of self-defense. Still, even if you do not start a fight, you may end up with criminal charges if you purposely provoke another person to throw a punch at you.
Involvement in a felony
Using physical force against someone does not count as self-defense in the event you engaged in a felony crime at the time. Georgia law explains that a person who has engaged in a felony, tried to commit a felony or has managed to complete a felony cannot claim self-defense protection. Additionally, self-defense is not available to individuals running from the scene of a felony.
Assault cases can become complicated matters, so it is important to know the legal protections available to you in case you must contest criminal charges in court.