￼When Does Self-Defense Turn Into Battery?
If you’re like many people, you’re well aware that you’re allowed to defend yourself when someone is attempting to harm you. Self-defense, at least in this arena, is about defending yourself through the use of physical force. For example, you probably already know that it’s okay to push someone off you if they’re attempting to punch you. You probably also know that it’s okay to fight back if someone is swinging on you.
But what you may not know is where the line between self-defense and battery lies.
The Line Between Self-Defense and Battery
It’s one thing to fight back when someone is hitting you – but it’s another matter to beat the daylights out of someone who punched you once. The former is self-defense, but the state of Wisconsin would most likely consider the latter a form of battery.
Battery is the act of causing bodily harm, substantial bodily harm or great bodily harm to another person:
- Bodily harm is physical pain or injury, an impairment of a physical condition, or an illness.
- Substantial bodily harm is an injury that causes a cut so severe that it requires tissue adhesive, stitches or staples. An injury involving a broken bone, burn, ruptured blood vessel or capillary, or temporary loss of consciousness, hearing or sight is also considered substantial bodily harm. So is one that involves a concussion or a tooth fracture or loss.
- Great bodily harm is an injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious disfigurement. It’s also an injury that causes a prolonged or permanent loss or impairment of any part of the body (including organs), as well as any other serious bodily injury.
But here’s where things get tricky: Any of these levels of bodily harm may be necessary to stop someone from harming you – but some are “overdoing” it. It all depends on the level of force necessary to stop someone from harming you (or someone else).
Related: What is disorderly conduct in Wisconsin?
If you’re a 6-foot-tall, 190-pound MMA fighter and a 4-foot-tall, 90-pound person punches you in the arm, kicking them in the head is probably going to get you into trouble. But if you’re a 4-foot-tall, 90-pound person and a 6-foot-tall, 190-pound MMA fighter attempts to punch you, the circumstances change; it would most likely take more to stop that person from hitting you.
That means self-defense is very subjective – and most people who are accused of battery can benefit from talking to an attorney about their situations.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Self-Defense and Battery Charges?
If you’ve been accused of battery for defending yourself, we may be able to help you explain your side of the story in court. Though we can’t predict how a judge will rule, we can give you the guidance and legal advice you need to get the best possible outcome. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now for a free consultation – we’d love the opportunity to help.