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Examining North Carolina’s self-defense law

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2019 | Criminal Defense |

Like most in Wilmington, you likely believe yourself capable of resolving any situation you are faced with in a calm, collected manner. While that may indeed be true in most cases, there may also be times where you fell compelled to act (forcefully even) to avoid danger to yourself and others. You have probably heard people describe situations where they claim to have encountered just such a situation and been skeptical of their claims, yet your disbelief will likely disappear when faced with a similar scenario. The question then becomes the same that many have asked us here at The Law Office of L. Brian Smith, P.C.: were you justified in your actions? 

The answer depends on how you reacted to the situation you encountered. Section 14-51.3 of North Carolina’s General Statutes says that you are justified in using force against another when you believe that there is imminent danger of such force being used against you (or someone else). In this context, however, you must stop short of using deadly force. The justifiable use of deadly force is only warranted if a reasonable person in the same situation would have felt that death o serious bodily injury would to themselves or others would have been the likely result of inaction. 

You would also be justified in using legal force against one unlawfully attempting to enter your home, vehicle or workplace with the intent to cause harm. The only exceptions to this rule would be if one forcefully trying to enter these places has a legal right to be there, or if said individual had given up attempts to enter and was in the process of retreating. 

You can learn more about defending yourself against possible criminal accusations by continuing to explore our site.