Originally Posted by barstoolguru
how a lawyer looks at it
The Burden of Proof for Self-Defense
In any criminal case, the prosecution's main goal is to show that a crime was committed. In this instance, the prosecution must simply show that a weapon was brandished, which qualifies as assault. Whenever a defendant chooses to argue self-defense in a case, the burden of proof falls on the defendant, not the prosecution.
This means that the defendant must prove that the need for self-defense justified the commission of assault. If the defendant cannot successfully argue that self-defense was necessary, s/he may be found guilty of assault or aggravated assault.
Because self-defense can be a difficult argument to make in an assault case, it is important to seek the advice and assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A criminal attorney can gather all evidence relevant to your case to help you construct a strong defense to your assault charge.
In some jurisdictions self-defense is an affirmative assertive
defense. When it is an assertive defense, the burden of proof is still on the prosecutor.
Of course IANAL, so I can't tell anyone whether or not that applies to them.