Imagine you’re sleeping in your bed and hear rustling in your home. You grab your gun and walk out of your bedroom only to find an intruder — also armed with a gun — in your home and going through your belongings. You yell at the burglar to get out, and he raises his gun. Without hesitation, you fire your weapon in self defense. So, what happens now?
The immediate aftermath of shooting someone in self-defense requires extremely quick thinking, a task that’s made harder when your body is full of adrenaline and shaking from what just happened.
What do you do in the immediate aftermath of a self-defense shooting?
- The first thing you have to do is make sure the person you shot is no longer a threat.
- After you have ensured your safety, call 911. Tell them there’s been a shooting. Tell them how many people are injured. Ask for an ambulance. Do not leave the scene.
- While waiting for police to arrive, communicate with any witnesses and make sure they remain on scene to give statements as well.
- Don’t taint any potential evidence in your favor. Make sure the scene is secured.
- When police arrive, surrender the weapon you used and make sure officers can see your hands at all times.
- When police ask what happened, tell them as little as possible while still being cooperative. You can explain that someone went after you with a weapon and you defended yourself. You can also tell them that any other statements will be made after you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney, which you will need — even if you were justified in the shooting.
What happens next depends on whether you were arrested at the scene:
- Sometimes, when the incident is an obvious case of self-defense, you won’t be taken away in handcuffs or detained.
- If you leave the scene in handcuffs and are taken to a police station, again, do not answer anymore questions or submit written statements before talking privately with an attorney.
- If you and your attorney decide you will give a statement to police, make sure your statements remain consistent throughout the entire investigation and/or criminal trial. Investigators and prosecutors will look for holes in your story and use them against you later.
What happens in the weeks and months after the shooting?
If you were not arrested at the scene, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be charged with a crime.
Sometimes, investigations can take weeks or months before charges are filed. If you are charged with a crime in connection with the self-defense shooting, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate this complicated and trauma-filled case.
Your attorney will have to successfully argue that the shooting was justified, while prosecutors will try to convince a judge or jury that the act was a crime.
Despite your knowing that what you did was in self-defense, proving your actions were justified in a court of law is no easy task.
If you or someone you love is in need of criminal representation, contact the office of Jacqui Ford today.