: a plea of justification for the use of force or for homicide
: the act of defending oneself, one's property, or a close relative
First Known Use of SELF-DEFENSE
self-defense noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
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 also homicide.
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