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Todays podcast is about Self Defense Laws
It’s important that you research and find what laws govern your country and state. I’m my experience in different counties is that they widely differ in self defense. Once, I was in a place that required you by law to flee the situation and not fight back. Basically it was illegal to defend yourself. In another country I visited recently, if the threat had a 9 cal bullet that he was shooting you with, you could not have a higher caliber gun then the threat. Pretty crazy!
Each states varies in some aspects of the law of self defense so do your self a favor and know your states laws. Simply search your state + Self defense laws and you should be able to find what you need.
In the USA, we have a basic right to defend ourselves and others if it’s lawful..
What is Lawful?
California self-defense law requires the following “elements” of the defense to be true: When you committed your crime, you reasonably believed that you were in imminent danger of being killed, seriously injured, or unlawfully touched; Some one coming at you with a knife is “imminent”. Some one saying that someday they will get you and you decide to be preemptive and kill them, that is not imminent. Reasonably believed that you needed to use force to prevent that from happening, and The force has to be proportional to the threat… If some one punches you, you generally cannot shot them. BUT if some one is punching you to the ground repeatedly and are about to cause you to die or major harm, it may be proportional to use a gun. As long as you can convince the prosecutor that the use of force was reasonable. Used no more force than was necessary to prevent that from happening. STOP the attack. Go no further. If you hit the person and they are on the ground crying san begging you to stop. STOP. Once the threat is eliminated you no longer can lawfully attack them.
The threat (person about to harm you) must show three things; Intent, Means, and Opportunity
Intent: You must be able to explain how you knew the threat was intending to harm you. For example, a threat running at you yelling “I’m going to kill you!” or more subtle ways of eyes glazing over, reaching into his pocket walking towards you fast. No matter what the situation, you need to be able to articulate HOW you knew he was going to hurt you.
Means: They must have the means to harm you. For example, if a threat yells I’m going to shoot you! but is wearing a bathing suit at the beach then they don’t actually have the means to carry out the intent.
Opportunity: The threat must be able to reach you with the means. If they are locked up in jail with a knife want to kill you, they still don’t have the opportunity because they are locked up.
You can use the same force and laws of self defense to defend others. We are a stand your ground state. Under CA Law there is no law saying you must retreat even if you have an opportunity to do so. Not all states are stand your ground states.
You must understand that if you did hit some one on the head with a brick, you committed assault with a deadly weapon. There’s no denying that… Your job now will be to prove that it was justified, because…… You must prove that you had NO CHIOCE. Prove it. Beyond reasonable doubt. You will be found Guilty or Not Guilty. Guilty beyond reasonable doubt or not guilty because some doubt was achieved.
Reasonable belief in threat
In order to plead self-defense successfully, you must have had an honest and reasonable belief that you faced imminent harm and needed to use force to defend yourself. 13 It does not matter whether that belief was correct or not, as long as it was reasonable.
In deciding whether or not your belief was reasonable, the jury is supposed to use what is called an objective standard. This means that they are supposed to ask themselves whether a reasonable person in your shoes would have believed they were in danger – not whether you personally believed you were in danger.
Now, that was criminal law. Just because you weren’t found guilty of harming the threat in a criminal case, the threat can sue you in a civil case for damages. In this suite, the plaintiff will show tangible evidence that they were harmed (injuries, medical bills, time off work, etc). If the jury decides that you didn’t absolutely HAVE to cause those injuries you may have to pay punitive damages. The goal here is to prove to the jury that the treat left you NO choice and that the harm he received was because of his actions. These cases guilty or not, are very expensive. Self Defense Law is a specialty and make a living off these cases. Something to consider is to find a good attorney to have on retainer. It’s always good to have some one to call if/when something happens.