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When can you use self-defense?

| Sep 22, 2020 | Criminal defense |

Bad things can happen quickly in the greater Chicagoland area. A wrong turn or a mistake of identity can put a person in a dangerous situation. When faced with threats of violence or worse, individuals should know what rights they have to protect themselves and others.

This post introduces the concept of self-defense, which is a criminal defense option for some individuals facing assault charges. No part of this post should be read as legal advice, and all readers are encouraged to speak with criminal defense attorneys about their rights and options for addressing their charges.

What is self-defense?

Self-defense refers to the right of an individual to protect themselves, others, and their home from aggressors. At its core, it allows a person to strike back to defend their health and safety when they are under attack. Self-defense is responsive; if a person is not under the threat of harm and inflicts injury on another person, then they may be charged with a crime based on their actions.

When can you use self-defense in Illinois?

Self-defense can be used when a person believes that they or someone else is facing imminent harm from unlawful force. A person cannot use deadly force in their self-defense when faced with non-lethal force. Only when a person is facing imminent deadly unlawful force may their self-defense be deadly as well.

Individuals in Illinois do not have to retreat when faced with force, and this also applies when they are in their homes. Illinois recognizes the castle doctrine, which states that a person is the ruler of their home as a king is to his castle. When faced with forced entry to their home, a person may use force to defend themselves and their home.

Charges of violence can, in some circumstances, be mitigated with defenses like self-defense. A criminal defense attorney can support their client’s needs and advise them of how best to approach their criminal defense strategy.