January 5, 2024 By Wallin & Klarich

Self-Defense Laws: When Can You Use Force To Protect Yourself? 

Self-defense is a legal concept that allows you to use reasonable force to protect yourself from harm. In the state of California, self-defense laws are specifically outlined in the penal code and can be used as a defense for certain crimes.

So when exactly can you use self-defense to protect yourself in California? The answer is not as clear cut as you may think.

According to California’s self-defense laws, you are allowed to use force when you reasonably believe that it is necessary to defend yourself from an imminent threat of harm. This means that you must be facing an immediate danger and have a reasonable belief that the force you are using is necessary to protect yourself.

Choosing Wallin & Klarich to represent your case puts you in a better position to receive the best outcome for your case. We have over 40 years of experience in Southern California. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL  for your free consultation!

What Constitutes “Reasonable Force”

But what exactly constitutes “reasonable” force? This is where things can get tricky. Reasonable force is determined by the specific circumstances of each case, and what may be considered appropriate in one situation may not be appropriate in another.

For example, if someone were to physically attack you, it would likely be considered reasonable for you to use physical force to defend yourself. However, if that person were to simply insult you or make verbal threats, using physical force in response may not be considered reasonable.

It’s also important to note that self-defense laws in California only apply if you are defending yourself from an immediate threat. If the threat has already passed and you continue to use force, it will no longer be considered self-defense and could result in criminal charges being brought against you.

What Situations is Self-Defense Legal

In order for self-defense to be considered a valid legal defense to criminal charges in California, three essential elements must be met:

  1. You had a reasonable belief that you were facing immediate danger of serious bodily harm, death, or unlawful physical contact.
  2. It was reasonable for you to believe that using force immediately was necessary to protect yourself from the imminent danger.
  3. The amount of force you used was not excessive and was reasonably necessary to defend against the imminent danger.

If you find yourself facing criminal accusations, our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can potentially argue self-defense on your behalf. With over 40 years of successful experience, our defense lawyers are well-versed in utilizing this defense strategy. Let’s analyze each of the three elements to determine whether self-defense may be applicable to your case.

Imminent Danger of Harm

For self-defense to be considered a valid legal defense against the charges you face, it is necessary for you to have reasonably believed that you were in immediate danger. This entails that a reasonable individual in your circumstances would conclude that another person was presently engaging in actions to unlawfully touch you, cause you harm, or pose a threat to your life.

It is important to note that self-defense cannot be invoked as a legal defense if you believed you were at risk of future harm. For instance, it is not lawful to attempt to stab someone because they threatened to harm you two weeks from now. In order for this defense to be applicable in your case, you must have been confronted with an imminent and immediate threat.

Use of Force was Necessary

While it is permissible to employ force in self-defense against harm or potential death in California, it is imperative to recognize that it may not always be the sole option available to you. For the defense of self-defense to be valid in a legal context, it is crucial that a reasonable individual in your circumstances would have believed that the utilization of force was necessary to protect oneself from imminent danger.

Amount of Force Used was Necessary

In accordance with legal principles, individuals are granted the right to employ force solely to the extent that is required in order to safeguard themselves or others from an immediate and impending peril. This means that the use of force must be proportionate to the level of danger faced, ensuring that it does not exceed what is reasonably necessary for protection. By adhering to this fundamental principle, individuals can ensure that their actions align with the law and prioritize the preservation of safety and well-being in critical situations.

If you are facing charges, it is important to speak with an experienced defense attorney to know all of your options. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have the experience you need. We offer exceptional service, experience, and affordable payment options to help you manage the cost of hiring a defense attorney. Call our office today for a free consultation!

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you are facing charges where you believe you acted in self-defense, you need an aggressive defense attorney to fight for your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients win their cases or get their charges reduced to a lesser degree. We know the most effective defenses to argue on your behalf, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. 

You may not be aware of all your options. Calling our office costs you nothing, but picking up the phone could be the difference between years in prison and years of freedom. Let our skilled attorneys examine your case to find the best way to avoid prison.

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

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