When can you claim self-defense?

On Behalf of Longman Jakuback

Charges of assault, battery and other violent crimes can carry severe penalties. This is especially true if there were aggravating factors present, e.g., you used a weapon.

However, there are circumstances in which the law allows you to use force in defense of yourself or your property. Here are some situations in which you can claim self-defense, as well as situations in which you cannot.

When you can claim self-defense

According to Louisiana State Legislature, you can claim self-defense if you were the lawful occupant of a building, including a place of business or a residence, or a motor vehicle, and someone else entered unlawfully or was attempting to do so. If you had a right to be in the place and you had a reasonable belief that force or violence was necessary to compel the intruder to leave, or to prevent the unlawful entry from happening, you can claim self-defense.

You can also claim self-defense if you have reason to believe that someone intends to commit a forcible offense against your person and you have to resort to force or violence to prevent it. The question then becomes whether your act was apparently necessary and the force used reasonable to prevent the offense.

When you cannot claim self-defense

The law states explicitly that you cannot claim self-defense if you engaged in violence during the act of buying or selling dangerous controlled substances, or when in possession of such substances with the intent to distribute. This is in accordance with the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law.

The law also states that when an act of force or violence results in a homicide, you cannot claim self-defense. That means that the act would have to meet the criteria for a homicide as defined elsewhere in the law.

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