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When Can You Use Deadly Force to Protect Yourself in California
California’s self-defense laws give individuals in California the right to use reasonable force, even deadly force, to protect themselves against an intruder in their home if they reasonably believe that they are in imminent danger from that intruder. This is known as self-defense and it is a valid legal defense against murder or manslaughter charges in the state of California. If you or someone you love has been arrested or charged with a crime for harming someone in self-defense for breaking into your home, you need an experienced San Diego criminal attorney on your side. Call Sevens Legal today at (619) 430-2355 to schedule a free legal consultation with our reputable criminal defense team.
- You have the right to use deadly force to protect yourself and your family against an intruder in your home if you reasonably believe you are in imminent danger from that intruder.
- California’s self-defense laws state that you have the right to do what is reasonably necessary to defend yourself and your home without retreating.
- The key to California’s self-defense laws is that you are only permitted to use the amount of force that is reasonably necessary to defend yourself.
- We highly recommend hiring a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can fight for you and present evidence supporting the argument that you acted in self-defense.
California Deadly Force Law
When you are facing a forcible intrusion into your home or private property, it is important to know your rights under California’s self-defense laws. The common law principle of “castle doctrine” states that if an intruder breaks into your home, you can stand your ground and do what is reasonably necessary to protect yourself or your family from harm. This includes using physical force to protect another person who is in danger or even killing someone who is threatening your life.
The key to this law is that you are only permitted to use the amount of force that is reasonably necessary to defend yourself. For instance, if you see someone outside your home and run outside and shoot them, your actions may not be justified, depending on the specific facts of the case. However, if someone breaks into your home, California’s self-defense laws state that you have the right to take action to maintain your safety, including using deadly force, without retreating.
Your Right to Protect Your Property in California
Under most circumstances, California law would prohibit the use of force against another person. However, if an intruder forcibly enters your home, California Penal Code 198.5 PC, the state’s “castle doctrine,” automatically presumes that you, the resident, would have a reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury from the intruder. In this case, you would be justified in using deadly force to defend yourself or your property. This is known as justifiable homicide and is not considered a crime under California law. Still, if you find yourself in this situation, it would be wise to consult a knowledgeable criminal lawyer who can explain your rights and help you establish a strong legal defense using California’s self-defense laws.
When is it Considered Self-Defense?
- If you are facing criminal charges in San Diego for using deadly force to defend yourself against an imminent threat, you may be able to use self-defense as a legal defense if:
- You reasonably believed that you or your loved ones were in imminent danger or your lives were at risk;
- You reasonably believed that using deadly force was necessary to defend yourself or your family against that threat; and
- You used no more force than was reasonably necessary to protect yourself or others.
At this point, it is up to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not act in self-defense. We highly recommend hiring a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can fight for you and present evidence supporting the argument that you acted in self-defense.
Is California a “Stand Your Ground” State?
Yes, California is a “stand your ground” state. Stand your ground laws generally establish a person’s right to stay put and defend themselves and their family members against an intruder they believe may cause them harm, even if it might have been possible to retreat.
Do I Have a Duty to Retreat?
In deciding whether self-defense is a valid defense in your criminal case, the court will consider whether you had a ”reasonable fear of imminent harm,” meaning you feared for your life and the threat had to be dealt with immediately. In this situation, there is no duty to retreat before using force to eliminate that threat.
Free San Diego Criminal Defense Consultation
If someone forcibly entered your home and you injured or killed that person in self-defense, it is in your best interest to speak to a reputable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you are charged with a crime for using deadly force against another person and the court determines that the killing was not justified, you could be convicted of manslaughter or possibly even murder due to killing someone in self defense. At Sevens Legal, we understand the nuances of California’s self-defense laws and we know how to use them to help you prove your case. Call our award-winning San Diego criminal firm today to set up a free legal consultation.
How to Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys
Self-defense can be argued in any criminal case where a defendant used reasonable force to protect themselves, another person, or their property against an imminent threat. However, even if you acted within your rights, killing another person in self-defense could land you in serious legal trouble. With the right legal representation, you can protect your rights and avoid the negative consequences of a criminal charge. Call our reputable San Diego homicide attorneys today at (619) 430-2355 to find out how we can help you with your self-defense case.