Justification defenses include self-defense, defense of others and defense of property. Generally, use of force against another must be reasonably necessary to protect themselves, and the amount of force must be reasonable as well (which is a question for the jury). Deadly force is only justified if the person reasonably believes their acts are necessary to prevent their own death or great bodily harm, or in the lawful defense of another. The defendant cannot be the aggressor, but there is no duty to retreat unless the defendant attempts to use deadly force against a non-deadly threat. Reasonable non-deadly force may be used to protect property. Deadly force may be used in defense of a person’s home or residence, if the defendant reasonably believes the attacker intends to kill, inflict serious injury, or commit a felony in the residence. In contrast with most defenses, the State has the burden to prove that the defendant did not act in self-defense, beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you have been charged with a serious felony, or one the above defenses applies to you, please call the 10.0 AVVO rated trial lawyers at Garrett, Walker and Aycoth today!