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Oklahoma has some of the toughest laws, and while self-defense is not a free pass for every fight, it’s a valid legal option to consider if you genuinely need to defend yourself.

Self-defense laws have changed over the years to allow for justified lethal force in certain situations. To understand these laws better, knowing about the Castle Doctrine, Make My Day Doctrine, and Stand Your Ground Doctrine and how they apply today is important.

Law firms focused on self-defense cases in Oklahoma, such as Jacqui Ford Law, are knowledgeable regarding legal procedures and the best course of action to take.

Here’s what you should understand about Oklahoma’s self-defense laws and how they work.

When Can You Use Self-Defense?

Self-defense is when someone uses force to protect themselves from being hurt or killed by another person. Oklahoma law allows it if the person genuinely believes they are in immediate danger and needs to defend themselves.

The law allows people to use self-defense when another party interferes with you or your property. The term “interferes” can sometimes cause debate in a trial, so before you claim self-defense, be sure the interference is blatant.

Here are some of the most common concepts you need to know:

Imminent Threat

In self-defense, the person defending themselves must feel like they’re in danger right at that moment. This danger could come from someone threatening to hurt them with words or actions. But just saying mean things isn’t usually enough. The danger isn’t immediate once the threat is gone, so self-defense doesn’t apply.

Reasonable Fear of Harm

The individual facing charges needs to demonstrate that their fear of harm was reasonable. The jury decides this by asking if a regular person in that situation would have thought they were about to get hurt. If the answer is no, then the person can’t claim self-defense, but they might still have a chance with imperfect self-defense.

How Much is Too Much? — Proportionate Response

The rule of thumb for self-defense is, don’t throw the first punch. If you start the fight, you can’t claim self defense. In many cases, when you’re protecting yourself, it’s important to match the force being used against you. 

You can’t go overboard with your response—it has to be fair to the threat you’re facing. If you’re thinking about using deadly force, it’s generally only acceptable if you genuinely fear for your life.

  • Here’s an example of what would most likely not be considered as a self-defense:

You get into an argument with the umpire at your son’s T-Ball game. The discussion heats up, and he pushes you. Then you grab a T-ball bat and hit him across the face to get even.

  • Meanwhile, here’s an example of what would most likely be considered self-defense:

You’re walking home one night, and a mugger jumps out of a dark alley and puts you in Stone Cold Steve Austin’s signature move, the “stone cold stunner.” You quickly recover and counter with a Chuck Norris-style round-house kick to the face.

Duty to Retreat

In certain places, a person accused of a crime must try to get away from danger first instead of immediately using force. This rule means the person has to show that they couldn’t avoid using force because there was no other option.

Oklahoma Self-Defense Laws

If you’re facing a charge in Oklahoma for a situation in which you used self-defense, it’s important to be aware of the laws that you and your defense attorney can use in your case. Here’s what to keep in mind:

1. Castle Doctrine

The Castle Doctrine comes from an old English law that says people have the right to feel safe in their own homes or businesses. It allows homeowners to defend themselves with lethal force if they believe they’re in serious danger from an intruder. Oklahoma’s Firearms Act of 1971 included this doctrine.

2. Make My Day Doctrine

The Make My Day doctrine expands the Castle Doctrine’s protections to include people who are lawfully inside a home or business.

Consider this situation: You’ve hired a caretaker to watch over your children while you’re away. In the middle of the night, an intruder attempts to break into your home with malicious intent towards your kids or the babysitter. 

Under the Castle Doctrine alone, the caretaker might not be shielded legally if they had to use force to protect the children and themselves, resulting in severe harm to the intruder.

However, the Make My Day Doctrine steps in here to provide legal backing for the caretaker. In this scenario, they are empowered to defend themselves and anyone else lawfully present in the home using lethal force if they reasonably believe there is an immediate threat of death or serious injury.

3. Stand Your Ground Doctrine

In Oklahoma, the Stand Your Ground law is more expansive compared to similar laws in other states. It permits individuals to defend themselves or others using reasonable force, even deadly force if they believe there’s an imminent threat, without requiring them to attempt to escape first.

Simply put, if you’re not engaged in an unlawful activity and you’re attacked somewhere you’re legally allowed to be, you have the right to stand your ground and defend yourself with force, including deadly force, if you reasonably believe it’s necessary to prevent serious harm or a violent crime. This law is outlined in 21 O.S. § 1289.25(D).

Empower Yourself with the Right Legal Representation

Jacqui Ford Law is a modern law firm with decades of experience in criminal defense. Our team is committed to giving you personal attention and using all available resources to protect your right to defend yourself.

Don’t risk facing consequences for defending yourself or others legally. Work with an experienced lawyer like Jacqui Ford, who knows Oklahoma self-defense laws well and can provide full attention and support to your cases.

Get in touch today for a free and private consultation, or call us at 405-604-3200.