Self-defense laws offer the opportunity to protect yourself in a situation where you fear your life may be in danger without fear of being charged with assault or possibly even murder if the circumstances warrant it. However, the tricky issue with self-defense laws are that it has to be shown in some way the act occurred in defense and not as an act of aggression. Here is what you need to know about how self-defense laws work.
Self-defense laws for the home
In Colorado, there is a law called the Make My Day law which lets homeowners protect their homes and families from forced invasions with even lethal force if necessary. If someone comes onto your property with bad intent, you have the right to use defensive measures to stop the threat however if it can be proven that they could not harm or that excessive force was used, it may make the case murky or possibly lead to charges on the homeowner so its vital to stop the threat with equal levels of force that the culprit is bringing.
What is considered an imminent danger?
When a person feels like their life is on the line and they only have a moment to act, this is considered an imminent danger. It is going to be one of the most significant factors that law enforcement will take into consideration when it comes to self-defense as a defense for the dismissal of charges. In order for this to happen, It must be clear why the homeowner believed that their or their family’s lives were at risk. If the assailant comes up in an aggressive manner and has it will be much easier to make this case. However, if the interaction began in a less offensive way, there could be an argument that the victim instigated, then self-defense as a reason could be thrown out the window. If the culprit who was hurt can show that they were approached first or that the victim escalated the confrontation, it could mean that assault charges could be coming towards the victim even if they felt like their actions, were merely self-defense.
How much force is too much?
Even beyond thinking about imminent danger, another main point that needs to be considered is if it can be argued that excessive force was used to cause injury. As stated before, if someone were to come into someone’s home or vehicle in an aggressive manner and potentially be carrying a weapon that they aimed to use then it is a much more clear-cut case, however, if the defendant had no weapon on them and their injuries seemed more severe then that of the victim, it could hurt the chances of the victim getting off without any consequences. Another way to think about this is if a person were to have a gun and you shot them in the leg and that took them down, then any further action like killing them would be considered an act of excessive force which could lead to potential murder charges. It’s vital to know that even in the heat of the moment that self-defense laws can only be applied to equal or lesser force than what is being brought upon you. Anything more can turn the victim into the instigator and the culprit into the victim in the eyes of the law.