Fighting Criminal Charges: 3 Types of Physical Evidence Used to Prove Self Defense

Regardless of how it happened, consult with a criminal defense lawyer the moment that you find yourself facing assault charges. Depending on the severity of the case, you could be facing lengthy prison time. The maximum penalty for an assault indictment is five years of jail time. This increases to 10 years if a weapon was used. If you were merely protecting yourself and acting in self defense, your criminal defense attorney will require you to gather evidence to support your claims. The following three types of physical evidence can paint a convincing picture in court.

Torn Clothing or Clothing with Blood Splatter

Don't toss out the clothing you were wearing when you were attacked. Surprisingly, torn clothing or clothing with blood splatters on it can be used by your criminal defense lawyer to provide the court with some insight into how vicious the attack was. Torn clothing can show that the attacker was causing you physical harm, which can be sufficient proof needed to establish that you were in danger. From the severity of the damages to your clothing, your criminal defense lawyer can also argue that you were under a lot of stress and were genuinely concerned for your own well-being. This gives you reason to attack back.

Keep your clothing in a sealed paper bag after the attack. This will help preserve the condition of the clothing. In addition, if your lawyer plans on testing the bodily fluids on the clothing for DNA, the paper bag will provide a breathable environment while protecting the evidence from contamination. 

Weapons Used by Opposing Party or Weapons Used for Self Defense

If you're of sound mind after the attack, take time to collect any weapons that were used in the attack for evidence. If you can prove that the opposing party used a weapon to attack you, they could face a more serious charge. Similarly, if the attacker is claiming that you used excessive force, you want to be able to produce the weapon that they used to show that you were in imminent harm. Depending on the type of weapon that was used, your attorney can justify why you reacted the way you did.

If you used a weapon for self defense, you should also hand in the weapon as evidence to your attorney. Provide some details as to where you got the weapon and how it was used.

Broken Furniture or Decorations

Reconstructing the scene of the accident can provide the court with further insight as to the circumstances that surrounded the attack, as well as some insight as to why you acted the way you did. If the attack happened on personal property, you might be able to keep any furniture or decorations that were broken as a result from the attack. For example, if the attacker pushed you into a table, the damages that the table sustained can allow a professional to reconstruct the force at which you were pushed. 

Your attorney will determine whether they should present the evidence in court. The damages to the surrounding furniture and decorations can help support the claims you've made.


Even though you might not have provoked the attack, don't take any chances if you're facing an assault charge. Go to websites that discuss criminal law for more information and speak to a criminal defense attorney to determine the type of evidence you need to support your case.