Self Defense Laws: How and When Does It Become Legal?

Everyone knows that when someone attacks you, you can protect yourself with anything you have at hand, even when that would normally constitute a crime. Hence, self-defence is more complicated that it first appears.

There are some situations when self-defence is allowed and what’s the intensity of the victim’s force to protect themselves. These rules are different between states.

Protecting yourself from the attacker using force is justified only in response to an immediate threat. It is good to know that there are different types of threats like the verbal one, when the victim is scared of physical harm.

But if the verbal attack doesn’t threaten you physically, the force you are using to protect yourself isn’t justified. If you use your force when the threat is over, it isn’t considered self-defence and your behavior will be penalized.

In some cases, self-defence is justified even when the aggressor didn’t mean the perceived victim any harm. The argument that makes the difference in this case is whether another ‘reasonable person’ would have reacted the same way in the same situation.

The term of ‘reasonable person’ translates into a mature citizen and is used to determine whether a person’s actions can be legally justified as a normal reaction to an imminent danger or not.

Sometimes a person could be scared of imminent physical harm that is objectively unreasonable, and if that person uses force to defend from the perceived threat, the situation is known as “imperfect self-defence”.

It doesn’t mean that this action isn’t considered a crime for using violence, but it can lessen the charges and penalties involved. This type of defence is not recognized in every state.

Therefore, the rules of self-defence depend on the situations and for understanding the amount of force you can use in a threat you better take some advices from a competent local attorney.

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