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Posted: 4/6/2006 9:38:32 AM EDT
suppose that one or two strangers attacked you on the street and started beating you up.

is it legal to pull a knife or gun and shoot or stab one of them?

when is deadly force justifiable in the eyes of the law?

if it is not justified in this case, what are you supposed to do? let them beat you up? are you supposed to let them beat you unconsious and find out later if they decided to kill you or not?

Link Posted: 4/6/2006 9:39:14 AM EDT
Would a reasonable person in your situation be in fear for their life?


If so, you should be good to go
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 9:41:32 AM EDT
depends in the locality.

In some states, drop em dead. In others, you must retreat.

Good question for your hometown forum.

Here in ND, we are required to retreat if we are capable. However, we are not required to retreat from our home.

so, someone threatens us on the street, we have to walk a way. someone kicks in my door, i can legally shoot.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 9:45:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:
Would a reasonable person in your situation be in fear for their life?


If so, you should be good to go



most likely not going to get in trouble if a linebacker from the eagles starts to kick your ass, but if you've got height/weight on the guy, chances are that the shoot will be questioned
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 9:45:42 AM EDT
It does vary by state, but the 12/6 rule is universal.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 9:49:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Another_Dude:
It does vary by state, but the 12/6 rule is universal.



+1
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 9:49:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By red65:
suppose that one or two strangers attacked you on the street and started beating you up.

is it legal to pull a knife or gun and shoot or stab one of them?



Laws vary, but the general rule is that if you have a reasonable cause to fear death or grave harm, lethal force is justified.

A two on one situation is called a disparate force event, and when faced with disparate force lethal force can sometimes be justified.



when is deadly force justifiable in the eyes of the law?



Again, individual statutes varry, but the general rule is that you need means, manifest intent and opportunity. An attacker needs to have the means to kill you meaning that he/she/it must posess the capability to kill you or do you grave bodily harm. This can be with a weapon, a blunt instrument, or even open hands in some cases.

Opportunity means that the attacker has the capability to harm you with whatever weapon that they have. If a man has a knife but there is a 3 foot thick concrete wall between you and him, he does not have the opportunity to harm you.

Manifest intent means that the attacker must do something to demonstrate a hostile intention towards you. A police officer, for instance, carries a gun. If he passes you on the street he has the means to harm you (the gun) and the opportunity to harm you (because of his proximity to you) but has not manifested any intent to actually do you any harm.

Note that some jurisdictions have a doctrine of retreat which only justifies lethal force if the person using said force is unable to escape from the situation. Those areas (New York and New Jersey are examples) require you to try to run before you are allowed to fight.



if it is not justified in this case, what are you supposed to do?



Firstly, with disparate force situations, "justified" is a real grey area. If the two people assaulting you with empty hands are two twelve year old girls and you are 6'4" weighing 250, lethal force is not justified. But if you are being assaulted by two large dudes who are capable of seriously hurting you, lethal force may be justified.

Even if lethal force is not justified, you can still defend yourself with lesser force. You can fight back with a lower level of force to defend yourself from any attack. But the general rule is that lethal force can only be used when you have a reasonable fear that the person(s) attacking you mean to kill you or do you grave bodily injury.



let them beat you up? are you supposed to let them beat you unconsious and find out later if they decided to kill you or not?



If they are trying to knock you out, then that is sufficient force to do you serious injury. A knockout is a sign of serious shock to the brain, and can be the initial symptoms of serious brain injury. Thus using lethal force may well be justified.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 9:50:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NAM:
depends in the locality.

In some states, drop em dead. In others, you must retreat.

Good question for your hometown forum.

Here in ND, we are required to retreat if we are capable. However, we are not required to retreat from our home.

so, someone threatens us on the street, we have to walk a way. someone kicks in my door, i can legally shoot.



+1 Each state views it differently.

Remember, you must be able to prove in court that you were in fear for your life or the life of another, don't think for one minute that the prosecution will not ask if you could have retreated (duty to retreat). You had better paint a picture that you were backed into a dark alley with no way out and each guy was the size of a gorilla with a black belt.

Always retreat anyway, no need to go through all the hassle. It will cost you thousands of dollars to defend yourself in court and all kinds of time.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 9:51:19 AM EDT
You seem to be rather new to deadly force laws.

I would recommend you consult with your attorney and/or local Chief of Police / County Sheriff.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 9:58:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By nationwide:
You seem to be rather new to deadly force laws.

I would recommend you consult with your attorney and/or local Chief of Police / County Sheriff.



An excellent suggestion.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 9:59:05 AM EDT
It could conceivably be a jusitified use of deadly force if just one unarmed man was attacking you. Provided he was a big/powerful enough person and you were comparably small and weak.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 10:10:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/6/2006 10:11:04 AM EDT by Ndenway]
just remember Leonard Geotz (sp?) in NY,NY, he killed 3, crippled 1, with his unlicensed pistol on the subway, claimed that he was in fear of his life, the jury found him not guilty of manslaughter and maiming, but he got nailed in the civil trial by the crippled kid.


which is still cool, cause he still alive and unharmed.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 10:17:26 AM EDT
If you are really in fear of your life and the only way out is to use deadly force, Then use it, no matter what the law says.


Unless you think it's your day to die.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 10:28:02 AM EDT
I've always maintained that I will not engage in a "fair" fist fight. At 30 years of are I'm not interested in brawling in the street and after seeing many cases of people being kicked and beat in the head long after they were out, often with deadly or very serious effects, I'm not willing to let it reach that point. If I can leave I will. If it's a 12 year old girl, I'll use only enough force to subdue it. If it's a 26 YO man who's now chased me to continue to push a fight I'll use my most effective weapon.

I don't start fights. I don't seek out places where fights are common. I don't get in other people's faces and I will not tolerate being attacked. That's not legal advise it's just where I stand on the issue.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 10:28:50 AM EDT
For some reason using a knife to defend yourself ends up in court as murder more often than a gun or at least it seems to out here. I think it is because killing someone with a knife seems a little more implusive and like a brawl.

Each state has different standards of legal self-defense, find out what they are in Pa. Carrying a knife with a blade longer than 3 and 1/2 inches is considered a concealed weapon in most states. Using an illegal concealed weapon to defend yourself opens you up to a little harder review by law enforcement.

When you see one or two strangers approaching you and they look like they are up to no good, maybe you should just change sides of the street and avoid the whole problem.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 10:51:15 AM EDT
It is in Alabama as of yesterday.
SG
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 11:52:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By lonegunman:
For some reason using a knife to defend yourself ends up in court as murder more often than a gun or at least it seems to out here. I think it is because killing someone with a knife seems a little more implusive and like a brawl.

Each state has different standards of legal self-defense, find out what they are in Pa. Carrying a knife with a blade longer than 3 and 1/2 inches is considered a concealed weapon in most states. Using an illegal concealed weapon to defend yourself opens you up to a little harder review by law enforcement.

When you see one or two strangers approaching you and they look like they are up to no good, maybe you should just change sides of the street and avoid the whole problem.



You've got to be kidding, that is a pen knife.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 12:00:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ZW17:

Originally Posted By NAM:
depends in the locality.

In some states, drop em dead. In others, you must retreat.

Good question for your hometown forum.

Here in ND, we are required to retreat if we are capable. However, we are not required to retreat from our home.

so, someone threatens us on the street, we have to walk a way. someone kicks in my door, i can legally shoot.



+1 Each state views it differently.

Remember, you must be able to prove in court that you were in fear for your life or the life of another, don't think for one minute that the prosecution will not ask if you could have retreated (duty to retreat). You had better paint a picture that you were backed into a dark alley with no way out and each guy was the size of a gorilla with a black belt.

Always retreat anyway, no need to go through all the hassle. It will cost you thousands of dollars to defend yourself in court and all kinds of time.




Theoretically, no you don't. If you were charged with a crime involving you defending yourself, it would be the prosecution's burden to prove you broke a law, not your job to prove that you didn't.

Innocent until proven guilty... at least that's how it's SUPPOSED to be.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 1:05:58 PM EDT
Packing.org has info and links re: various states’ use of deadly force laws.

Here’s that site’s summary of Virginia law:


Virginia has no law on deadly force, per se. Instead Virginia covers deadly force with case law and common law.

Basically a person may stand his ground as long as he was not a part of the initial confrontation. If he was part of the initial confrontation, then he must retreat as far as possible and announce his intentions to leave the confrontation before he can use deadly force to defend himself.

An innocent third party can also be defended with deadly force.

Deadly force can only be used against deadly force, where the victim could be killed or grievously injured.


Note the statement re: initial confrontation in the second paragraph, above (which could be a real tie-breaker in some instances)!

You absolutely must know what your specific state requires.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 1:21:04 PM EDT
Much comes back to totallity of the circumstance.
Oppertunity & Ability of attacker, were you in jeporday. Size disparity. Skill disparity. If Chuck Norris said he was going to "Kill you with his bearded appnedage", and came after you. I'd think your good to go.

If you were exhausted from fighting out of a situation. Too many variables.

These are just a few that come to mind.

This is not legal advice, You would have to look at your State's Laws. As well as how the DA charges and views this sort of thing.

This is a delima that trained LEO's have to go through any time they go to that level of force. FYI all the armchair quaterbacks come out of the wood work.

Keep in mind reasonableness.
Link Posted: 4/6/2006 1:54:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/6/2006 2:03:28 PM EDT by red65]
thanks for the replies, i will check with local law types
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