When Can You Claim Self-Defense in Georgia?

If you are in a position where you feel threatened by the actions of another person, you may believe that it is well within your rights to defend yourself, even if that means using deadly force. While there are situations where deadly force is warranted in Georgia, there are criteria that must be met for your actions to be justified.

The self-defense argument can be challenging to prove on your own, so it is highly recommended that a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer review your case’s details.

For you to justify the use of deadly force, two elements must be present. First, the danger to yourself or another person must be imminent. Second, you must reasonably believe that using force is necessary to prevent significant bodily injury or death to you or another person. This means you have a legal right to use force to defend yourself or another person if your safety is threatened. However, it does not mean you can resort to violence simply because you were involved in a verbal altercation and offended by what the other person said.

Can I Use Force to Protect My Home?

According to Georgia Code § 16-3-23, the use of force may be justified if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent another person from unlawfully entering your home and causing severe injuries or death to you or other people in the house. Deadly force is only justified if the person entering your home becomes violent, is not someone you would expect to enter the home, and the only way to prevent the attacker from causing severe injuries or fatalities is to resort to deadly force. A jury will determine whether your use of force was reasonable based on the circumstances of the case and the evidence provided.

When Is a Self-Defense Argument Not Justified?

While you are well within your rights to defend yourself or another person if an attacker threatens to cause serious injuries or death, there are situations where the use of force is unjustified. You must be aware of these situations, as the self-defense argument will not be an effective strategy. The following are examples of scenarios where you may not resort to using deadly force to defend yourself:

  • You may not provoke another person to use force against you with the intent to use that as an excuse to inflict bodily harm upon another person.
  • Using force may not be justified if you attempt to commit or flee the scene after committing a felony.
  • You were the aggressor in an alternation or engaged in mutual combat.  You may be able to claim self-defense if you withdrew from the altercation and clearly communicated your intention to do so, but the other person continued to threaten you.

Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Assist Clients With Self-Defense Strategies

If you are facing criminal charges for using force to defend yourself or others, you are urged to contact our Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or complete our online form. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we proudly serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.