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Self-Defense: Legal Considerations

Posted on April 22nd, 2009 No Comments



When you are attacked and feel as though you or your loved one may be in danger, it is an extremely frightening experience. Compounding the fear and anxiety are the numerous questions and confusion surrounding the legality of self defense: if you defend yourself, will you find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit when everything is said and done? Furthermore, will that let the attacker claim that he was acting in self defense?

The key determining factor in the use of self defense is whether or not force was reasonably necessary in order to prevent injury. The inherent problem with this definition is that it is very subjective; different judges and juries have different definitions of what is considered “reasonably necessary”, making an objective standard elusive. Typically, this criterion involves determining exactly how much force was necessary to repel the attack; it precludes people from using deadly force to repel an otherwise non-deadly attack.

However, deadly force is acceptable to use if the victim reasonably believes that the attacker will cause serious injury or death to either the victim or a victim’s loved one. Again, this is a subjective criterion and may be subject to interpretation as to what exactly constitutes a “reasonable expectation” of injury. Furthermore, in many jurisdictions, the victim is required to reasonably attempt to flee before using deadly force to repel an attack.

If you have been injured by the reckless or negligent actions of another person, contact Jacksonville personal injury lawyer Don Guthrie at 904-296-1088.

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