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Self Defense Tip: Can You Be Legally Liable After Defending Yourself?

You did it! You defended yourself against an aggressive assailant, but now you might get charged with assault! What???

Defending yourself can be a tricky situation. There can be both legal and civil ramifications to you.

Find out what your states laws are regarding self defense:

While people DO have the right to defend themselves, there are limits to what someone can do in a self defense situation. To make matters more confusing, each state has its own rendition of what is considered self defense and what is not. The precise circumstances in which you may legally use force, and the amount of force you may legally use, vary somewhat from place to place.

Examples from two of my students:

One of my students in a northern state was charged with assault after defending himself and his wife from an attack. Then, a civil suit was brought forward from the man who attacked them!

On the other hand, one of my students in a southern state got off with a warning after defending himself and his girlfriend while being attacked.

While I cannot go into detail about their cases, there were many similarities in both cases, including the amount of damage the assailants received. The main difference was how each state viewed self defense. It's important that you find out the laws in your state regarding what is self defense.

According to

At its core, the doctrine of self-defense applies when someone:

  • isn't the aggressor

  • reasonably believes force is necessary for self-protection against imminent and illegal violence, and

  • uses a proportional amount of force.

Self-defense can be boiled down to three basic components:

  • necessity

  • proportionality, and

  • reasonable belief.

Disclaimer: I strongly recommend that you learn the self-defense laws of your state by speaking to a lawyer in your state. I am not a lawyer and, am only sharing my opinion.

What I shared should not be construed as legal advice.

To learn simple, effective self defense techniques and tactics, get my book The Short Fight,

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Thanks so much!

Until next time, Stay Safe!

Lawrence Castanon,

Author, The Short Fight


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