The Criminalization of Self Defense
As children, many of us were taught not to hit others, but if they hit us first, it was okay to defend yourself. Although that method works for small children, once they reach the pre-teen years, perhaps we should be a bit more elaborate. After all, the law states that only under certain, pre-defined circumstances is it okay for you to use violence as a form of defense. In many violent crime situations, it is entirely possible that the scenario can reverse in court, and the victim can quickly become the aggressor.
Although the potential to be criminalized for defensive action can occur with almost any circumstance, for the brevity of this post, only one situation will be discussed. What if someone is breaking into your home through the window to your child’s room and protecting your kids asleep in bed, you shoot the intruder as they are crossing the threshold of the windowsill? What if the criminal dies as a direct consequence of their injuries sustained? If their family is distraught over their lost family member, they may obtain legal counsel and bring forth charges against you as the homeowner for murdering this person. You did not seek out to break any laws; you just were defending your family.
You are likely surprised to discover that yes, the charges against you may hold water. If it is enough to sink you is entirely up to the circumstances surrounding the case. The basics of “affirmative defense” are as follows:
- Reasonable physical force that is not likely to potentially cause death is applicable only if the victim believes that they are in immediate danger of someone using physical force against them;
- Deadly physical force is force that is most likely to cause death and is only acceptable if the victim believes that their life is in immediate danger of being killed or significantly injured; and
- Deadly physical force is not legal if the victim did not attempt to retreat, give up possessions or if there was another way out of the situation.
If you or a loved one are charged with a violent crime such as criminal assault, murder, or manslaughter, you probably understand that this can have serious repercussions on your future. It is essential that you communicate with a legal representative that can assist you in understanding your current charges. However, it is important that you find the right lawyer for your case that can lead you in a better direction, help you build a strong defensive case and aggressively fight for your rights in court. If you are interested in discussing these possibilities with a proven Stamford, CT criminal defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today at 203-348-5846 to schedule your free initial consultation.