What happens when you have been threatened and must defend yourself? A defendant is permitted to claim self-defense in cases where they had to defend against somebody to prevent suffering force or violence. What happens if somebody comes into another person’s home to commit robbery and they have a knife? What if they threaten to kill the homeowner? If the homeowner wrestles the knife away from the burglar and then knocks them unconscious, this could be seen as an example of self-defense. Different states have different determining factors to consider in cases of self-defense. Here are some elements that must be proven in your claim:
Imminent Threat: Self-defense can only be claimed if there was an imminent threat posing a danger. The threat does not have to be physical but instead can be verbal in nature, such as an aggressor telling somebody that they will cause them harm and planning to follow through on it.
Reasonable Fear of Harm: Sometimes the aggressor will claim that they did not actually plan on causing the victim harm. The court will assess whether or not a “reasonable person” in the same situation would have seen the situation as a threat to their well-being and done the same thing.
Many states use a “stand your ground” law, which is when a claim of self-defense can be made even if the claimant did nothing to flee from the threat of violence. California, however, does not abide by “stand your ground” and requires that you attempt to flee the scene. Instead, they recognize something known as the “castle doctrine” which means that an individual using deadly force to protect their property has no duty to retreat. However, when an individual leaves their property, the castle doctrine no longer applies.
Depending on the circumstances, you have a right to defend yourself against what you perceive to be a threat. It is important to understand California’s self-defense laws and take many elements into consideration if you have been charged unjustly. Call us today so that we can help you use a defense to make your case.