People who are facing criminal charges such as assault and battery often wonder if they can argue self-defense. The law in Louisiana does allow for the use of self-defense, but the law is largely misunderstood. There are certain elements of self-defense a person must prove when using the argument in their case. When those elements are not present, the use of force is illegal and could result in harsh penalties. Our Monroe criminal defense lawyer explains when you can use self-defense below.
When is Using Self-Defense Justifiable?
State law allows for the use of self-defense to keep people safe and to minimize bodily harm in situations when it is most important. Self-defense is most often used in cases of battery, assault, and homicide. The court will then determine whether or not the self-defense was justifiable. To use the argument of self-defense successfully, you must prove four elements of your case. These are as follows:
- The initial attack must have been unprovoked
- There must be an imminent threat of injury or death
- There must be a reasonable degree of force used against the person defending themselves, or their family members
- There must have been a reasonable fear of injury
Proving the above elements is not always easy. For example, an attacker may argue that they were provoked into using force and as such, they were actually using self-defense.
When Can You Not Use Self-Defense?
Under the law, it is not possible to use the argument of self-defense if the violence occurred during the purchasing or selling of dangerous controlled substances. Anyone who is in possession of a dangerous controlled substance and has the intent to distribute them also cannot use the argument of self-defense. You also cannot use the self-defense argument if there was a possibility to escape the situation.
The Stand Your Ground Law in Louisiana
The stand your ground law in Louisiana is slightly different from the self-defense law. Under the stand your ground law in the state, you can use deadly force if you are legally in your home, your vehicle, or other place, and someone else unlawfully enters the area. Unlike the self-defense law, the stand your ground law does not require that you try to retreat or escape, even if that is a possibility. However, like the self-defense law, you cannot raise the argument of the stand your ground law if you were engaging in illegal activities at the time.
Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Monroe for a Consultation
At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our Monroe criminal defense lawyer knows how to prove that you were acting in self-defense and will give you the best chance of beating your charges. If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, call us at 318-594-3592 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.