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When can self-defense be used as a criminal defense?

| Sep 28, 2020 | criminal law

People across the United States have the right to protect themselves and their properties. But, can self-defense go too far? In North Carolina, the Statutory Castle Doctrine allows people to use deadly force to defend their home, car or workplace. This may be used as a criminal defense in cases where deadly force was used by someone who was facing an imminent threat.

In 2011, the Castle Doctrine was broadened to cover workplaces and motor vehicles. Generally speaking, North Carolina residents have a right to protect themselves and their property. Most clear-cut self-defense cases will not land in court, as investigators and district attorneys are familiar with the Castle Doctrine. However, this is not always the case.

When law enforcement investigates any situation where force is used, they are expected to gather all the facts. If the facts clearly show that the act was in self-defense, it is unlikely that charges will not be filed. This is the case in North Carolina, as well as in the other 24 states where some sort of “Stand Your Ground” law is on the books. In other states, self-defense may be considered differently.

If charges are filed, but an individual believes he or she acted in self-defense, there will still be an opportunity to tell the story in court. A criminal defense lawyer is an important tool one can use to argue a case and clarify the situation. Finding an experienced lawyer early on in the case, or even the investigation, can help prevent the need for trial altogether in some circumstances.