In most domestic violence situations, victims are intentionally harmed by the abusers. However, in some cases, the injuries sustained by a victim are the byproduct of a person's actions who may not have intended to actually hurt the individual. In this situation, the aggressor will typically be charged with reckless domestic violence. It can be challenging avoiding being convicted of this crime, but here are two defenses that may be helpful in your case.
You Feared Harm to Yourself or Another Person
Self-defense laws allow people to take action, up to and including fatal measures, to prevent individuals from harming them or other people. If someone charges at you with a tire iron, you're allowed to hit the aggressor with a baseball bat to stop him or her from cracking your skull open, for instance. This is so people can defend themselves from harm without fear of being prosecuted for a crime.
Thus, you may be able to avoid being convicted of reckless domestic violence by proving you acted aggressively to stop the "victim" from harming you or someone else. For instance, your partner blocks the exit to prevent you from leaving the home, so you push past the individual and accidentally knock him or her down some stairs. You could get the case decided in your favor if you can prove your partner was going to harm you in some way if you didn't immediate escape.
For this defense to be effective, you must prove there was an imminent threat of harm, you had reasonable fear the threat posed by the other person was credible, and the force you used was proportional to the threat faced. For example, you may have a hard time escaping a conviction if you put someone in a choke hold, as opposed to verbally threatened harm where you didn't follow through.
It's best to discuss this option with an attorney to determine whether the circumstances of your case fulfill the requirements for a self-defense strategy.
You Couldn't Foresee the Harm to the Other Person
To convict you of reckless domestic violence, the prosecution must show you knew harm to the victim could result from your actions but you ignored the risk and acted anyway. Thus, another way you can defend yourself is to show you didn't know nor could you have know the person would be hurt because of what you did.
For example, you push someone away from you and they fall against a railing that subsequently collapses, causing the person to plunge over the side of a wall to the ground below. Showing there was no way you could've known the railing would fall apart like that could help you avoid a conviction.
There may be other ways to defend against a reckless domestic violence charge. Consult with a criminal defense attorney, such as from The Fitzpatrick Law Firm, for advice on your options.