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Could self-defense turn into criminal charges for you?

Everyone has the right to defend themselves from an attack by an aggressor, but there can definitely be times when self defense tactics can cross the line and get you charged with a crime.

When self defense is involved, it's important not to cross the line into excessive force. What this means is that while defending yourself, you must not use more force than necessary to stop your attacker. Consider the following example:

A woman smacks a man in a bar who made an unwanted sexual advance towards her. He punches her full in the face, causing extensive dental and facial trauma and causing her to lapse into a coma after striking her head on the ground.

The man could face serious charges in the above hypothetical example, as there were less forceful options he could have used to stop the woman from slapping him, including grabbing her hands or even walking away.

However, as Oklahoma is a stand-your-ground state, it gives residents more latitude than in states without such laws. These cases usually involve some type of weapon used to stop an attacker, and the ones using deadly force must be able to prove that they had good reason to believe that their lives were in jeopardy.

The states with stand-your-ground laws expand the places where use of deadly force to halt attacks is legal. You do not just have to be in your home or car when an attack occurs to be justified by the law to use a weapon. However, you must still consider the true threat impact before pulling a pistol and firing away.

If you are facing charges related to a self-defense attempt, seeking legal advice and representation is a wise choice.

Source: Money Instructor, "Excessive Force: How This Can Change Self Defense Into A Crime," accessed May 05, 2017

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