When Does an Act of Self Defense Become Felony

self defense to felony

Shooting a fleeing person is no longer self defense.

“When does an act of self defense become felony?” This was a question sent to us via the Best Self Defense Weapon Mailbag.

In our previous article about the use of lethal force in self defense, we have discussed the elements that constitute self defense. These are:

  • The person defending himself must not be at fault in creating or aggravating the conflict.
  • He had reasonable belief that the situation involves a threat of serious injury or death.
  • There was no opportunity to retreat from the event.

So, if any of the mentioned elements are lacking or have not fulfilled, then, an act of self defense may turn into a felony.

Here are some examples of self-defense scenarios that could constitute felony:

1. If the person defending himself is intoxicated or he has a problem with substance abuse that would cloud his judgment, then, suddenly he fires a shot to a person knocking at his door due to a belief that the individual poses a threat to his life, the act of self defense would not be acceptable and the situation could easily become a felony.

The rationale of this is that the person defending himself is simply believing himself to be in a life-threatening situation because of paranoia. Thus, the act itself or his mindset is not considered to be reasonable.

2. When the aggressor is already retreating, yet the defendant has fired his weapon which wounds or kills the fleeing individual, this could turn into manslaughter or any charges under felony.

Basically, the act of retreating away already frees the defendant from immediate injury. Therefore, it is no longer self defense if he chooses to shoot the escaping person. A wise thing to do during this event is to report the incident to the police and file the necessary charges against the perpetrator.

Always Seek Legal Advice

The article simply reflects the personal opinion of the author and it does not constitute a legal advice for persons charged with felony during self defense. A wise thing to do when you have been charged with felony after exercising your right to defend yourself would be to consult a lawyer who can study your case thoroughly and help you gather the necessary evidences that could strengthen your defense.

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