How Do Self-Defense Laws Work in Los Angeles?

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In some assault, battery, and murder cases, asserting your appropriate use of force in response to the situation can help protect you from criminal charges. Appropriate use of force doesn’t just cover self-defense, but defense-of-others and the defense of your home as well.

While self-defense isn’t quite the slam dunk get-out-of-jail-free card it’s portrayed as on television, it is effective when your actions meet California’s criteria for the justifiable use of force.

The Three Criteria for Self-Defense

There are three criteria that can be used to determine whether your use of force was justified.

  • You had a reasonable belief that you were in imminent danger of being harmed. Imminent means the danger is happening right now, in your location.
  • You had a reasonable belief that the use of force was necessary to protect yourself from that danger.
  • You used the least amount of force necessary to reasonably defend against that danger.

In other words, would another person facing your same situation believe they were going to be harmed? And did you shoot someone six times when they charged at you with a knife, or did you disarm them and throw them to the floor? These are the kids of questions that juries will be considering when deciding whether your self-defense claim is valid.

You can use deadly force, but only if that was the lowest level of force available to you to protect yourself.

The Three Criteria for the Defense-of-Others

The three criteria for claiming you acted in the defense of others is very similar.

  • You had a reasonable belief that another person was in imminent danger of being harmed.
  • You had a reasonable belief that the use of force was necessary to protect that person from that danger.
  • You used the least amount of force necessary to protect that person from harm.

Do you have a duty to retreat in California?

You might be surprised to learn that California does not require you to retreat from a dangerous situation. 

California Has a Castle Doctrine

You might also be surprised to learn that California observes the castle doctrine. If someone breaks into your home that automatically creates the reasonable presumption of harm. 

Using the Defense of Justified Force

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your actions were not justified. This means that as your defense lawyers we will be building a case to show why your presumption of immediate harm and your response were reasonable. 

Never assume that your actions will make as much sense to everyone as they do to you. Even when you are claiming self-defense you will need the help of an experienced defense attorney. Don’t talk to the police without a lawyer present. They will not say, “Oh, our apologies, we’ll let you go immediately,” just because you tell them you were acting in self-defense. If they choose to arrest and charge you, then the prosecution is the only one who can drop or dismiss your case.

You’ll need an energetic and experienced private criminal lawyer to ensure that your case is brought to a good outcome. Reach out to Greco Neyland today.

See also:

Am I Eligible For a Diversion Program in Los Angeles County?

What Should You Do If There is a Warrant Out for Your Arrest in Los Angeles?

How Do Self-Defense Laws Work in Los Angeles?

inne-rpage-seperator

In some assault, battery, and murder cases, asserting your appropriate use of force in response to the situation can help protect you from criminal charges. Appropriate use of force doesn’t just cover self-defense, but defense-of-others and the defense of your home as well.

While self-defense isn’t quite the slam dunk get-out-of-jail-free card it’s portrayed as on television, it is effective when your actions meet California’s criteria for the justifiable use of force.

The Three Criteria for Self-Defense

There are three criteria that can be used to determine whether your use of force was justified.

  • You had a reasonable belief that you were in imminent danger of being harmed. Imminent means the danger is happening right now, in your location.
  • You had a reasonable belief that the use of force was necessary to protect yourself from that danger.
  • You used the least amount of force necessary to reasonably defend against that danger.

In other words, would another person facing your same situation believe they were going to be harmed? And did you shoot someone six times when they charged at you with a knife, or did you disarm them and throw them to the floor? These are the kids of questions that juries will be considering when deciding whether your self-defense claim is valid.

You can use deadly force, but only if that was the lowest level of force available to you to protect yourself.

The Three Criteria for the Defense-of-Others

The three criteria for claiming you acted in the defense of others is very similar.

  • You had a reasonable belief that another person was in imminent danger of being harmed.
  • You had a reasonable belief that the use of force was necessary to protect that person from that danger.
  • You used the least amount of force necessary to protect that person from harm.

Do you have a duty to retreat in California?

You might be surprised to learn that California does not require you to retreat from a dangerous situation. 

California Has a Castle Doctrine

You might also be surprised to learn that California observes the castle doctrine. If someone breaks into your home that automatically creates the reasonable presumption of harm. 

Using the Defense of Justified Force

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your actions were not justified. This means that as your defense lawyers we will be building a case to show why your presumption of immediate harm and your response were reasonable. 

Never assume that your actions will make as much sense to everyone as they do to you. Even when you are claiming self-defense you will need the help of an experienced defense attorney. Don’t talk to the police without a lawyer present. They will not say, “Oh, our apologies, we’ll let you go immediately,” just because you tell them you were acting in self-defense. If they choose to arrest and charge you, then the prosecution is the only one who can drop or dismiss your case.

You’ll need an energetic and experienced private criminal lawyer to ensure that your case is brought to a good outcome. Reach out to Greco Neyland today.

See also:

Am I Eligible For a Diversion Program in Los Angeles County?

What Should You Do If There is a Warrant Out for Your Arrest in Los Angeles?

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