If you feel that you, your property, or someone else feels threatened or has suffered serious bodily injury, you can take action to protect yourself or another person. However, there are guidelines related to self-defense laws to ensure someone isn’t reacting with deadly force against a minor threat. So, what actions are considered self-defense? Can you protect your home against burglary, trespassing, or other property crimes? Our criminal defense lawyers in Raleigh are looking at the laws and sharing what they mean so you can take proper action for your safety in the future.
Understanding Castle Doctrine in North Carolina
Castle Doctrine refers to the idea that a person’s home is their “castle,” and they have the right to defend it, even using deadly force. Basically, if someone is entering a home, vehicle, or workplace unlawfully and in a perceived threatening manner in which the people inside are under threat of imminent danger, the property owner or caretaker can legally use deadly force and is not under a legal obligation to stand down or retreat.
It’s important to note that if the intruder retreats, you are not legally allowed to follow them and engage in deadly force. For example, if someone is breaking into your home, they see you and run away, you are no longer under a threat of danger and thus, don’t have the right to chase them or go after them.
Learn more about the Castle Doctrine here.
Stand Your Ground Laws
Traditionally, when an individual was threatened, if they had the ability to retreat or get away, they had the obligation to do so, rather than use deadly force. “Stand Your Ground” laws eliminate an individual’s duty to retreat. North Carolina is a stand your ground state, and thus, if threatened with violence, individual’s don’t have to retreat and can, instead resort to reasonable force to defend themselves.
It’s important to note that stand your ground laws use an equal use of force approach to defining what is reasonable. For example, if an individual pushes you or hits you, you don’t have the right to respond with deadly force. However, if you reasonably believe your life is in jeopardy, you do have the right to use deadly force.
Keep reading about North Carolina Stand Your Ground laws here.
What Actions Are Considered Self Defense in North Carolina?
Using the castle doctrine and stand your ground laws as well as precedent, means in specific cases people in North Carolina can use reasonable or deadly force when defending oneself, their property, or another person. While deadly force can’t be used as self-defense without being legally justified or without the imminent threat of death or bodily harm, North Carolina law does tend to come down on the side of a potential victim fighting off an attacker.
Contact a Defense Attorney in Raleigh for a Consultation Today
If you have been involved in an incident where you had to use physical force, deadly or otherwise to protect oneself, you need legal counsel immediately. Often, self defense cases or violent crimes of any type can be complex, and you don’t want to inadvertently incriminate yourself, even when it seems that force is justified. Instead, let the criminal defense lawyers at Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas, LLP advocate on your behalf, help you understand the specific self defense laws, and ensure you have a strong defense.
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