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self defense

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Your question is a bit too vague to give a specific answer. Generally, "self defense" and "defense of others" is a type of defense to a crime-- not a right in and of itself. Basically, the defendant is admitting to the crime, but saying that he or she had a valid reason for committing the crime and should not be punished for it. The rules concerning "self defense" defenses will vary from state to state and crime to crime. But, you can see a general overview of self defense here:

Common Defenses to Criminal Charges

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