North Carolina State Law does recognize self defencce as a legal defencce. But you cannot use unreasonable force. It is up to the jury to decide at trial.
Generally, self defense with a deadly weapon is going to require a showing by defendant that there was a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury to them. This is an issue that she needs to discuss in detail with her defense attorney.
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This will probably be decided by a jury.
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Self defense will not keep her from getting charged. However, it may keep her from getting convicted. Self defense is a trial defense that the jury has to agree on in order to win. You can't really raise it pre-trial once the case has been charged (unless the charging agency reviewed the police reports, agreed that she obviously acted in self defense and therefore decided not to charge the case - which did not happen here since your cousin did get charged) Contact a criminal defense attorney that has tried these cases before. Do not hire just anyone. Make sure you ask them these questions.
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