We’ve mentioned how a criminal attorney in California will often take advantage of self defense laws when fighting all types of charges. But this defense deserves its own post because self defense is such an important legal strategy to know about as it is one of the most popular and most successful violent crime defenses available to a defendant.
California Self Defense Laws
Self defense rules allow this defense to be used in all types violent crimes cases, but it is particularly useful in those involving homicide, attempted murder, assault, battery, road rage or domestic violence. The basis of the defense is that you reasonably believed that you were in danger of being killed, injured or otherwise illegally harmed and had to use the minimum required physical force to prevent that danger.
You can also use the concept of self defense to come to the aid of others, so if you hurt someone who was about to punch your friend or sexually assault a woman, your attorney can use this information to defend you.
You Don’t Have to Attempt to Escape
California is a stand your ground state. What that means is that when using self defense, you do not legally need to attempt to escape the situation before you attempt to protect yourself. In other words, if someone threatens you with a weapon and you injured them in an attempt to stop their threat, you can still claim self defense even if you could have easily ran away from the scene.
There Are Limits to Self Defense
Of course, you can’t just claim self defense because you harmed someone. Your lawyer must be able to show that you reasonably believed you (or another person) were in imminent danger, that immediate force was required to stop that danger and that you did not use excessive force to do so. If you have a reasonably strong case though, it will remain up to the prosecutor to prove that you did not meet the requirements set by California state’s self defense laws, which can be particularly difficult if you have any witnesses supporting your claims.
It’s worth noting that the general rule of self defense involving deadly force is that you cannot use deadly force for a non-deadly threat. Unless someone is armed with a weapon or is using extreme physical violence, it is difficult to prove self defense if you react with deadly force. That being said, if you truly believed that you were justified in using deadly force even when a reasonable person would not feel that way, you can use the concept of imperfect self defense in a murder case.
If you were arrested after acting in self defense or defense of another person, or if you have any question about self defense in California, please contact Peter M. Liss as soon as possible. You can schedule a free initial consultation by calling (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to discuss your case.
Creative Commons Image by Ian T. McFarland