Provocation As A Defense: It's Not Clear-Cut

Law Blog

If you've been charged with assault and claim that you had no control over your actions and that you were provoked, you need to talk to a defense lawyer immediately. Provocation is a difficult defense to use, and your actions have to clearly demonstrate that you lost control and had no way to prevent what you did. In some cases, self-defense may actually fit your situation better than provocation, but again, the difference has to be evaluated by a lawyer.

How Soon After the Provoking Act Did You Make Your Move?

Provocation implies that you flew off the handle and acted before you realized what exactly you were doing. That means the actions you took really had to have been done right after or during the provoking act. In other words, if someone insults you, you walk away and start stewing, and later hunt that person down, that's really not a good case for provocation. On the other hand, if you hit someone who was following you and verbally harassing you right after that person got in your face and continued to yell, you might have a stronger case, though that's still something that needs to be examined well before you decide to use provocation as a defense.

How Free Were You to Get Away?

Another factor is just how free were you to get away from the person you assaulted. If someone is yelling at you from across a parking lot and not following you, you turning back to walk over and hit the person doesn't look good for you because you were free to keep walking away and get completely away from the person. On the other hand, if you were followed or trapped in an area where you couldn't get away, that could be a mitigating factor (or a point in favor of using self-defense as a court defense instead).

How Direct Was the Provoking Act?

You also have to look at how direct the provoking act was. Did someone go after you or your family members who were nearby? Or did you see something on the internet and decide the perpetrator needed to be shamed via physical violence? There is a big difference between something happening right next to you and something happening far away.

Each case is going to be so different that it's difficult to immediately say whether provocation will work for you as a defense in court. Only a skilled assault lawyer can really decide if it's a good route to take, so start contacting lawyers now.


17 May 2017

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