Classification of SELF DEFENSE CASESTo provide some legal self help and practical information regarding various self defense cases, we'll take a "simplified" look at national trends towards self defense under most conditions in most state jurisdictions.
As with any legal matter, state laws and mitigating circumstances vary. So take this as very general information in regards to civil and criminal matters and the use of force in defense of self and property. Disclaimer
Self Defense Cases
The guideline and the important language to be noted is reasonably believes, unlawful, necessary, proportionate and about to.
A majority of jurisdictions allow the use of force; including deadly force, in resisting an attack by a person that is not known to be a police officer.
The use of non-deadly force in some jurisdictions is allowable against a known police-officer attempting to make a wrongful arrest. In other jurisdictions, this is allowed only if the police officer does not identify him/herself.
As you would expect, the standard for the use of deadly force is higher than for non-lethal. Criminal law generally allows for the use of deadly force anytime a faultless victim reasonably believes that unlawful force which will cause death or grievous bodily harm is about to be used on him.
Again, it is important to note the key words in the standard.
In many jurisdictions, a victim will have the right to use non-lethal force in defense of his dwelling when he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent or terminate an intruder's unlawful entry or attack upon his dwelling.
Deadly force is authorized when violent entry is made or attempted and the victim reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent an attack on his person.
It may also be authorized when a victim reasonably believes that lethal force is necessary to prevent entry into the dwelling by someone who plans to commit a felony therein.
The rationale for allowing self-defense in these scenarios is based upon the right of persons to be secure in their homes, rather than the right to defend property. Therefore, this law would generally not be applicable regarding defense of uninhabited property.
Assault could be described as the creation of reasonable apprehension of impending battery, in the victim. Simple fear is not enough.
The aggressor must have the ability to bring about such contact. The victim must actually expect to be struck or touched. The fact that the victim may not be the least bit afraid does not negate the crime.
Words alone are generally not sufficient to support an action for assault, but words coupled with some act may be enough. As an example, shaking your fist and threatening with words may well constitute assault. A conditional threat such as give me your money or your life may also be sufficient to support an assault charge. With assault or battery charges, no actual damage needs to result for the charge to be valid.
Battery may be described as harmful or offensive contact with the plaintiff's body, and that the aggressor intended to bring about such contact, and that the actions of the aggressor caused the contact.
While harmful contact is can be determined from the specifics of the situation, offensive contact is judged by the reasonable person standard which is more objective.
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