Imperfect Self Defense Law and Legal Definition

Imperfect self-defense is a common law doctrine of criminal procedure whereby a defendant may mitigate punishment or sentencing imposed for a crime involving the use of deadly force by claiming that the use of force was on the honest but unreasonable mistake that force is necessary to repel an attack. In some jurisdictions, such a self-defender will be charged with a lesser offense than the one committed. For example, a defendant may be charged with manslaughter rather than murder because the defendant used unreasonable force to repel the attack on the honest belief that it was necessary to repel the attack.