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Matthew Radefeld & Dan Juengel
Matthew A. Radefeld and Daniel A. Juengel

When can people use self-defense in Missouri?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2020 | Homicide, Violent Crimes |

There are many different laws in Missouri designed to keep others safe. One of these laws is that it is illegal to assault others. However, for a variety of reasons assaults do occur and people are charged and some are ultimately convicted of the crime. People who are convicted can face very serious consequences that could include jail time and lengthy times on probation.

However, just like any other crime people who are charged with assaults are not automatically guilty and people are innocent until proven guilty. There could be defenses available to the person charged. One of these defenses is that they were acting in self-defense. People claiming self-defense need to affirmatively claim it though and to be successful with this defense people need to meet certain elements.

Elements of self-defense claim

People are allowed to use physical force in order to protect themselves or another person from imminent use of unlawful force against them or a third-party. However, there are some exceptions.

People cannot use a self-defense claim if they were the initial aggressor in the altercation, unless they made it clear they were withdrawing from it and the other person continued the physical force. Also, the force used must be reasonable and only the amount of force necessary to defend can be used. People are also cannot use a self-defense claim when they are fleeing after committing a forcible felony.

In certain circumstances people do not have a duty to retreat from the altercation. If people are in their homes, property that they own or lease, in their vehicles or other locations they have a legal right to be at they do not have a duty to retreat before using physical force to defend themselves.

There are many different reasons that people resort to violence in Missouri. Some of the violence is justified though such as using self-defense. If people are charged with an assault it is important to understand the potential defenses. Experienced attorneys understand these defenses and may be able to help protect one’s rights.