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In criminal law, an affirmative defense (e.g., to a murder charge) alleging that the defendant used serious force necessarily for self-protection. The claim of self-defense must normally rely on a reasonable belief that the other party intended to inflict great bodily harm or death and that avoidance by retreating was impossible. See alsohomicide.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on self-defense, visit Britannica.com.
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