When the government brings criminal charges against a defendant, that person may have one or more defenses against the crimes charged. In the case of a New York assault crime or assault related charges, one of the most common defenses is self-defense which in New York is the defense of justification. Self defense may also apply to many Murder or Manslaughter charges.
In New York, self-defense is a defense. In New York if a defense is raised the prosecutor has the obligation to disprove that defense beyond a reasonable doubt. Justification, or self-defense is a type of defense in which a defendant claims he committed the acts that would otherwise constitute the offense, but he should not be found in violation of the statute for some other reason. In the case of self-defense, the defendant claims he committed the charged acts for a justifiable reason – specifically, that he was justified in defending himself or a third person.
The defense of self-defense is discussed in Article 35 of the New York Laws. For example, under section 35.10, the use of force upon someone else which might otherwise make out a crime or offense is justifiable and not criminal if the person uses “physical force upon another person in self-defense or defense of a third person.”