What counts as self defense

Nearly every state in America, as well as federal laws, allow you to protect yourself from harm by another person.

In general, self-defense is defined as protecting yourself from physical harm in a situation that otherwise could constitute a crime. For example, it is a crime to shoot someone else, but if the person you shoot was attacking you or raised a gun at you, then the shooting was self-defense.

There are many questions that have to be answered when a self-defense case arises: Did you use an appropriate level of force to deal with the situation? If it was lethal force, were you justified in using lethal force? Did you have a place to retreat so you wouldn’t be attacked? Did you perceive a threat that didn’t actually exist? Was the threat imminent?

These are just some of the questions that must be addressed in a self-defense case. Self-defense cases are anything but simple, and the laws governing them vary from state to state. No matter how clear-cut the self-defense case is, it’s highly likely you’ll need a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side.

 

What are Oklahoma’s self-defense laws?

In Oklahoma, the Legislature allows self-defense under the following circumstances, because it “recognizes that the citizens of the State of Oklahoma have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes or places of business”:

  • The person you defended yourself against was in the process of forcefully entering, or had unlawfully entered, a home, occupied vehicle, or business. This does not apply if the person you defended yourself against has a right to be in the home, vehicle or business (owner, title holder, etc.) and there is no protective order in place. This also does not apply if you were engaged in unlawful activity or were using the home, business or vehicle to further illegal acts.
  • In Oklahoma, if a person enters a place illegally or by force, it is presumed that he or she was doing so to commit an illegal act.
  • The person you defended yourself against was trying to kidnap or remove another person against their will inside a home, occupied vehicle, or place of business. This does not apply if the person you defended yourself against has a right to be in the home, vehicle or business (owner, title holder, etc.) and there is no protective order in place.
  • You used defensive force because you knew or had reason to believe that someone was committing an act of unlawful entry.
  • Pointing a gun or other weapon at someone who is a threat is also allowed under Oklahoma state law.

 

Does Oklahoma have a Stand Your Ground law?

Yes. Oklahoma’s Stand Your Ground law, almost copies the Florida Stand Your Ground law that made national headlines after George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Oklahoma’s Stand Your Ground law states that “A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

As you can see, self-defense and Stand Your Ground laws are convoluted cases that are best handled by an attorney.

If you or someone you love is facing charges because you defended yourself, contact the office of Jacqui Ford today.