Though everyone may wonder what they’ll do in a situation in which they are faced with a threat, the scenario that plays out in your mind may not happen in real life. Unfortunately, nothing you can do can prepare you for an instance in which you face an imminent threat. As such, understanding how self-defense can help protect you in instances in which someone poses the risk of death or harm to you is vital. Keep reading to learn more about what laws are in place to protect you and discover how an Anne Arundel or Howard County, Maryland criminal defense lawyer can help you when you’ve had to resort to self-defense measures.
What Constitutes Self-Defense?
Self-defense is the use of force that someone enacts when they are faced with what they believe to be a reasonable and viable threat. If someone believes that another party is likely to cause them or another person nearby bodily harm or death, they can use potentially lethal force to nullify the threat.
Generally, self-defense is a form of justifiable violence. For example, if someone is approaching you with a knife and you disarm and punch the person, you would not be charged with assault because the force used was reasonable and you were in danger of harm or death.
What Laws Protect Me?
It’s important to understand that Maryland is a “duty to retreat” state. This, unlike the “stand your ground” doctrine, requires those faced with a threat to escape when possible. So long as escape would not lead to bodily harm, you must retreat or attempt to before resorting to using potentially lethal force against a threat. Essentially, this means using force is a last resort in Maryland. This, however, does not apply to situations within your home.
Maryland also follows the “castle doctrine.” This is a law that allows homeowners to not have to retreat when faced with a threat in their own homes. For example, if someone were to break into your apartment, it is not unreasonable to fear that they are a threat to you and your family. As such, you can stand your ground when in your own home to protect yourself and others.
What Should I Do if I’ve Had to Defend Myself?
If you’ve had to take the necessary means to protect yourself, it can be an overwhelming and confusing time. However, it’s vital to contact an attorney first and foremost.
Many considerations are made in cases of self-defense. This includes whether or not a reasonable amount of force was used, who the initial aggressor was, where the incident took place, and whether or not the injured party has a right to be in that location.
Because there are many elements that influence a self-defense situation, it’s imperative to contact the Law Offices of Debra A. Saltz as soon as possible. Our dedicated legal team will do everything possible to help you navigate this complex legal matter.