If a person in Michigan is charged with an Assault, Domestic Violence, or a home invasion, a person may be allowed to use the claim of Self Defense to be found not guilty of the charges. Under Michigan law, no one will argue with you that you have an absolute right of Self Defense. The area that will be up for dispute though is if a person was lawfully allowed to use Self Defense. A defendant may sincerely believe they acted in Self Defense, a prosecutor or police officer may not agree with that claim.

Self Defense According to Jury instructions

  • When deadly force is used, the defendant must have honestly and reasonably believed that he or she was in danger of being killed, seriously injured or sexually assaulted.
  • At the time he or she acted, the defendant must have honestly and reasonably believed that what he or she did was immediately necessary.
  • A person may only use as much force as necessary at the time.
  • A person is never required to retreat if attacked in his or her own home, nor if the person reasonably believes that an attacker is about to use a deadly weapon, nor if the person is subject to a violent, sudden and fierce attack.
  • A person may not kill or seriously injure another person just to protect himself or herself when they threat or injury that may happen appears to be minor.
  • The defendant’s conduct should be judged according to how the circumstances appeared at the time they acted.

Under Michigan law created in 2006, a person may stand their ground. This law creates a presumption of Self Defense in the person’s business or residence.


If you are accused of an assault crime, Attorney Shawn Haff of The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan will begin the working on your case by seeking any information about the parties and seeking answers from witnesses who were there when the events that lead to criminal charges took place. There are several other factors that will be considered when looking over your case:

  • Does anyone, in this case, have a military or martial arts training?
  • The Strength and weakness or disabilities of anyone in this case.
  • Prior history of assaultive or domestic violence.
  • Any evidence to suggest someone tried to avoid an altercation, escape or retreat.
  • Was an assault or great bodily harm imminent?
  • Was anybody armed with a dangerous weapon?

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