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Too Many Women Are Incarcerated for Self-Defense


According to studies, an estimated 77 percent of female criminal defendants are abuse victims; meaning that many who end up incarcerated were simply acting in self-defense, but were charged and placed in prison anyway. Take, for example, LeToya Ramseure, who was incarcerated after shooting an ex-boyfriend who threatened her because she did not have access to an attorney and was unable to post bail, or Cyntoia Brown, who was released 15 years into a life sentence after killing the man who forced her into sex trafficking as a teenager.

The sad reality is that, without a criminal defense attorney dedicated to serving as a defendant’s champion, who aggressively fights to ensure that evidence of abuse and protection orders are taken into account in deciding not to charge a defendant and/or during trial, there is often no hope for those accused of crimes even though they were simply fighting for their lives.

Minor, Low-Level Offenses to Serious Charges

Today, most women are arrested for what would be considered very minor offenses: Driving while under the influence, substance abuse/drug possession, criminal mischief, harassment, local ordinance violations, public disorder, minor property crimes, and simple assault. Many of these minor crimes have a connection to self-defense, as do the more high-profile cases that involve fatalities. There is a high rate of criminalization for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and these women often face extreme sentences, such as life without the possibility of parole. Profiles of these women include those who were charged with:

  • Child abduction after fleeing to protect themselves and their children from an abuser
  • Criminal aggravated assault and attempted murder after escaping an attack by driving away from the assailants and striking them in the process
  • Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after shooting at the wall in an attempt to escape an abuser
  • Involuntary manslaughter charges after shooting and killing an abusive father who had been repeatedly reported to police

Another Way?

In lieu of custodial arrest, some law enforcement agencies are trying to come up with alternatives to arrest, including declining to arrest those suspected of certain minor offenses, issuing citations for low-level offenses, such as driving with a suspended license, offering pre-arrest crisis intervention for those experiencing a mental-health crisis, and pre-booking diversion programs for certain low-level offenses related to poverty, substance abuse, and mental illness.

If You Have Been Arrested & Are Facing Charges for Self-Defense, Contact Our Experienced Defense Attorneys

If you have been charged, without an attorney working by your side, it is entirely possible that you could end up wrongfully convicted after simply acting in self-defense. North Carolina criminal lawyer Rashad Hauter – a former Wake County ADA – knows how the system operates and how those charged are re-victimized. We can provide you with the very best representation in order to ensure that you are not made a victim of the system. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and find out more.



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