What Is Self Defense?

What Is Self Defense? Image


What Is Self Defense?

While watching different crime and legal shows, you may have noticed that self defense can take on different meanings in different TV shows. However, under California law, specifically Penal Code Section 198.5, an individual has the right to use deadly force within their home if he or she has “reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household” (Cal. Pen. Code § 198.5). A few conditions need to be met in order to justify self defense, which includes you knowing the intruder came in to your house unlawfully and is acting accordingly, there is a reasonable fear of death or injury, and that the occupants of the home do not intentionally provoke the intruder. Furthermore, self defense can also be taken into consideration for crimes committed outside of your home, with similar conditions having to bet met for its justification.

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A Legal Defense

A criminal attorney can argue for self-defense if the case fits the requirements. Cases that have had a history of self-defense legal defenses include murder, assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, and battery on a peaceofficer. In each situation, proof will be required for who initiated the attack and a background of the circumstances. One of the most important aspects of self-defense cases is acting in a reasonable matter, and showing a reasonable amount of violence given the context of the threat.


Some self-defense cases can be difficult to prove, which is why you should not enter a scenario and initiate an attack unlawfully all while hoping that your actions will be excused as self-defense. This legal defense is reserved for individuals at the receiving end of reasonable imminent peril of death or injury.

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