Self Defense and the Law
Here is the scene. You are returning to your car after shopping. Suddenly a stranger steps into your path and demands your wallet. He is pointing a gun at you and appears to have every intention to use it if you do not comply. Naturally, you do not wish to give up your cash and credit cards, so you attempt to de-escalate the situation by rationalizing with him. But, he will have none of it and again demands your wallet and packages. You drop your wallet on the ground in front of him and he bends over to pick it up. As he stands up again, he is now looking down the bore of your legally carried Ruger 9mm. He is angered by this tactic and points his firearm at your face preparing to shoot, but he is too slow. You fire a defensive round striking him in the shoulder and bringing the incident to an end. The police and EMT’s arrive and the predator is taken to the hospital. Meanwhile the police begin asking you questions. You reply it was a clear cut case of self defense and invoke your right to remain silent till your attorney is present. A few hours later you meet with your attorney and he advises you the attacker is using a public defender and filing charges against you. Your rightful claim of self defense is not always a easy to employ as it should be. First of all, by claiming “self defense” you are confirming the prosecutor’s case for him. In others words, you are saying yes “I used deadly force against the attacker.”
In order for a self-defense case to be upheld in a court of law, it must contain five elements, if any of the five are absent or insufficient, the self’-defense case is no longer valid and the criminal justice system perceives you as the bad guy legally vulnerable to prosecution. One of those five elements is “innocence.” Meaning you were innocent of any provocation, or instigation, or maintaining this incident, and you did not unjustly escalate the level of force being used. The fact that you were the first to actually employ deadly force is not in your favor, but it also was the reasonable response to an imminent threat. Your attorney must be able to convince the court that your use of deadly force was a lawful and reasonable reaction to an imminent threat of death or grave bodily harm. Otherwise you could be facing criminal charges. Know your rights, the law, and secure a competent attorney to represent you.
There will be more to follow on the other four elements of a self-defense case.