When Can You Claim Self Defense?

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When Can You Claim Self Defense?

Self-defense is a commonly used term in criminal law, and it refers to the legal justification for the use of force that a person can claim when defending themselves against an assailant. Michigan law recognizes that self-defense is a valid justification for the use of force, but only in specific circumstances. If you are facing a criminal charge and believe you acted in self-defense, it is essential to understand Michigan’s self-defense laws. Lucido & Manzella, P.C. provides you with an overview of the legal requirements for claiming self-defense in Michigan. For case-specific advice, schedule a consultation with our attorneys. 

Imminent Danger Is Present

The most important requirement for claiming self-defense in Michigan is that you must reasonably believe that you are in imminent danger of bodily harm or death. This means that you must have a genuine belief that you or someone else is about to be harmed, and it is necessary to use force to prevent it. The danger must be present, and there must be no opportunity to escape or avoid the confrontation.

Proportional Force Is Used

The amount of force that you use in self-defense in Michigan must be proportional to the threat that you are facing. This means that you can only use as much force as necessary to protect yourself. Using excessive force or deadly force when it is not required could result in criminal charges against you.

Duty To Retreat

In Michigan, there is no duty to retreat before using force in self-defense. However, if you are in a public place, you are required to retreat if it is safe to do so. If you are in your home, work, or personal property, you are not required to retreat. If you are faced with an assailant, and it is safe to retreat, it could strengthen your self-defense claim by showing that you exhausted all options before resorting to force.

Reasonable Belief

Another crucial requirement for claiming self-defense in Michigan is that you must have a reasonable belief that force is necessary to protect yourself. This means that your belief must be genuine and supported by the circumstances. If you did not genuinely believe that force was necessary, your self-defense claim could fail.

Burden Of Proof

If you are claiming self-defense, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to disprove it beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot disprove your self-defense claim, you could be acquitted of the charges against you.

Contact A Criminal Defense Lawyer To Discuss Your Situation

Self-defense is a complex legal concept that requires a proper understanding of Michigan law. If you are facing criminal charges and believe that you acted in self-defense, it is essential to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can carefully evaluate the circumstances of your case and help you build a powerful defense. Remember, claiming self-defense is not a ticket to use as much force as you want. Still, it is a legal argument that could potentially save you from criminal liability if the circumstances support it. Always act in good faith and consider the legal requirements before resorting to force in self-defense. Call Lucido & Manzella, P.C. to discuss your case and determine the next steps.  

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