If you’ve been physically assaulted or threatened with violence in Oklahoma, defending yourself with physical force can have serious legal consequences.
Fortunately, Oklahoma’s self-defense laws allow individuals to use force when acting in self-defense. However, navigating these laws can be complicated, and it is essential to understand your rights.
At Jacqui Ford Law, our Oklahoma City criminal defense team has the experience to help you understand the legal framework of self-defense in Oklahoma.
Definition of Self-Defense in Oklahoma
Self-defense is a legal justification for intentionally hurting or killing another person when you believe you are in imminent physical danger.
Under Oklahoma law, self-defense occurs when someone who is currently being physically harmed or is threatened with immediate physical harm uses physical force to stop or avoid the harm.
However, it’s important to understand that self-defense must be reasonable and proportionate to the threat you’re facing. For instance, if an attacker grabs your arm, you can’t use deadly force to stop them. Still, you can use reasonable force, such as kicking them in the groin or pepper-spraying their face.
Self-defense is an affirmative and absolute defense, meaning that if the court finds that you acted in self-defense, you will not be held accountable for your actions.
Why Allow Self-Defense in Oklahoma?
Allowing individuals to use force in self-defense is crucial because it ensures that victims can protect themselves when in danger. It also deters perpetrators from attempting to harm others, knowing they might face physical retaliation.
In Oklahoma, the force used must match the force of the injury expected. This means that you can only use the amount of force you reasonably believe is necessary to stop the attacker from hurting you.
“Make My Day” and “Stand Your Ground” Laws in Oklahoma
If you reasonably believe that your life or someone else’s life is in immediate danger, you may use deadly force.
Additionally, Oklahoma’s “Make My Day” and “Stand Your Ground” laws allow you to use physical force to protect yourself, your property, or others in certain circumstances.
- The “Make My Day” law allows you to use deadly force to protect your home or place of business when someone has forcibly entered and you believe you or others are in danger.
- The “Stand Your Ground” law allows you to use force to fend off an attacker anywhere you have the right to be, and you are not doing anything illegal.
In Oklahoma, there is no legal requirement to retreat before using force to defend yourself. However, if you can safely escape the situation without using force, it’s advisable to do so.