Have you ever wondered exactly what you’d do should the worse ever happen? With over 800,000 aggravated assaults and almost 1.5 million burglaries in the US each year, it’s important to know where you stand in regards to self defense laws.
Everyone has a right to defend themselves, but there is a point when legal self-defense can become assault and worse. Let’s take a closer look at your rights when it comes to protecting yourself, your family, and your property.
Self Defense Laws 101
As far as the law is concerned self-defense is your right to protect yourself (or someone else) from harm by using a sufficient amount of counteracting force. Different states have different rules in regards to when self-defense applies and to the level of force that is acceptable. But, as a general rule, here’s when self-defense is permissible by law.
There are times when self-defense can easily allow the other person to file a criminal case against you. It is only in a court of law will you be able to establish whether you acted on self-defense or was there any other motive involved. The important question is- how are you going to prove the same. This is where you need to work with credible criminal defense attorney san francisco to help you establish your innocence and prove the self-defense clause.
Imminent Threat or Harm
Self-defense is only applicable when it is a reaction to an immediate threat. If you are attacked or a verbal threat is made that leaves you in fear of physical harm then you can use just force. It’s important to note that if you defend yourself and the attacker stops the attack, then so does the imminent threat. Any force used after the attack has ended would not be considered self-defense
Is the Fear of Harm Reasonable?
Here you have to ask ‘would a reasonable person in the same position has reacted the same way?’ A legal professional would have to be able to prove that most people would have responded to the situation in the same way as you did in order to claim self-defense.
Self-defense is justified when the force used in self-defense matches the perceived threat. If some attacks you with a knife then deadly force would probably be viewed as a proportional response. However, if you were to respond to a minor threat with potentially lethal force then the argument of self-defense might not be valid.
Duty to Retreat
All but 15 states have removed this requirement for claiming self-defense. Duty to retreat meant that you must be able to prove that you attempted to avoid the threat before meeting it with force. It has been replaced in most states by the ‘stand your ground’ law.
Stand Your Ground
The stand your ground law basically means that you have a right to defend yourself against a physical threat, and you do not need to attempt to escape. The difference between these two laws sounds cut and dry, but a good defense lawyer is essential to help prove that self-defense was justified. Visit mndefenselawyer.com for more information.
The Castle Doctrine
The Castle Doctrine allows you to use lethal force if someone unlawfully enters your home. This means that even in the states where there is a duty to retreat, you are not expected to attempt to leave your home before reacting with force.
When Self Defense Becomes Criminal Aggression
If your reaction to the perceived threat is deemed as unjustified in court then you are likely to be charged depending on the severity of your actions. This is why it’s important to understand these factors that contribute to self defense laws. Remember, you have a right to defend yourself and your loved ones, but always make sure you can justify your actions.
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