Justifiable Homicide Lawyers
What is Justifiable Homicide?
Under the traditional law of self defense, a person can use deadly force only in response to the threat of death or serious bodily injury. In such a case, a homicide committed to protect yourself would be justified.
However, several states have expanded the right to use deadly force to situations where property is affected. In these states, the requirement that a person be in imminent physical danger has been relaxed.
Below are some examples of such state laws:
- In Louisiana, the use of deadly force is justified when a person lawfully inside a home or motor vehicle uses such force against another individual who is attempting to make an unlawful entry into the home or vehicle, as long as the person reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the entry or to compel the intruder to leave.
- In Colorado, the use of deadly force upon an intruder is justified if the user has a belief that the intruder might use physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.
- In California, a person who uses deadly force within their residence, against an unlawful intruder, is presumed to have had a reasonable fear of imminent death or bodily injury.
What Is the Duty To Retreat?
Although citizens have the right to defend themselves and in some states, their property, many states have provisions that the person exercising the right to self-defense only use as much force as possible. If the person has a possibility of escape, then the person should not only take that escape, but he or she must take the chance. This is known as the duty to retreat.
What Does It Mean To Stand Your Ground?
The duty to retreat is a hotly debated duty. As such, many states have laws which abolish the duty to retreat. These doctrines vary from state to state in when the duty is suspended. Some states only suspend the duty when life is at risk while others might extend the suspension to property as well. The provisions go by many different names: “castle doctrine”, “line in the sand” or “stand your ground”.
The following states have “stand your ground” provisions: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
If you have used deadly force against someone, and were acting to protect yourself or your property, the defense of justifiable homicide may be available to you. You should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. An attorney can inform you of the laws of your state, and explain how they may be used in your defense.
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Last Modified: 09-20-2012 11:52 AM PDT
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