Self-defense is a tricky area because law enforcement tries to abide by the rights of both parties. A person does have the right to defend himself or herself in certain situations, but in others, it is against the law. The following are five of the requirements that a person must meet before his or her act of self-defense can be considered a justified act of self-defense:


Someone Must Be Attempting a Felony

An act of self-defense may be completely justified if the other party is attempting a felony. For example, concealed carriers may have the right to shoot another carrier who is trying to rob them. That act of self-defense is most likely going to be excused in the court of law because of the attempted robbery. 


Evidence Proves an Imminent Threat

If there is evidence that proves that a person posed an imminent threat to the concealed carrier or the person who committed assault on the alleged perpetrator, then the self-defense act may be excused. Videotapes and pictures could be used as proof of such an occurrence. 


No Mutual Combat Has Occurred

Self-defense will almost always be justified and unpunished if one person was beating another person, and no mutual combat occurred. A fight is a mutual combat situation. If no fight occurred, then the person has the right to defend.


An Animal Is the Aggressor

If an animal such as a bear, tiger, or extremely large beast is attacking a person, that person does have the legal right to implement self-defense, even if that self-defense involves killing the animal. The person’s duty is to preserve his or her life. If the animal can be spared, that’s a good thing, but it’s not always possible. 


The Attacker Enters the Home

Finally, any situation in which the attacker enters the home is a dangerous situation. Self-defense tactics may be 100 percent justified in such a situation. many states support the right of homeowners to go so far as to take the lives of people who violate them by entering their domains.

Any person who has to make a decision on whether or not to implement self-defense needs to consider these five areas: avoidance possibility, innocence, imminence, proportion and reasonability. Considering those five factors will bring forth the right action, and it may also have a bearing on the court’s rulings.



Andrew Branca

Rice Law

New Hampshire Review