Claiming Self-Defense in South Carolina
You have the legal right to protect yourself and others from any harm. This means that you can harm someone who is meaning to hurt you in self-defense and not be liable for the resulting injuries. However, this legal protection will only apply if your actions are found to be necessary, reasonable, and commensurate to the imminent harm against you. But what does this mean exactly, and how far does the right to self-defense go?
When is Self-Defense Legal in South Carolina?
The self-defense laws in South Carolina provide the right to utilize reasonable and necessary force to defend yourself against the imminent threat of being harmed. You can claim self-defense and avoid criminal liability if you hurt your attacker because you are protecting yourself, others, or your property. Many states, like South Carolina, also have “stand your ground” laws.
It provides that you are not legally required to retreat if you were attacked in a place where you have a legal right to be, such as your home or business premises, and you are not engaging in an illegal activity. You can also “stand your ground” and use reasonable or deadly force if you reasonably believe that doing so is needed to prevent great bodily injury or death to yourself or others or prevent someone from committing a violent crime. For example, if the aggressor is forcefully and illegally entering or trying to remove you from your home or vehicle.
In general, if you claim self-defense, you can’t be the attacker or aggressor. However, the question of who is the attacker can be blurred during a conflict. In most cases, the attacker is usually the person who started the conflict. While this is true in most cases, it isn’t always the case. Depending on the situation, you can still claim self-defense even if you were the initial attacker and attempted to escape or stop the conflict and have informed the victim of your intention or the victim responded with substantial or deadly force.
Self-defense is usually claimed by defendants who have been charged with assault, domestic violence, murder, or attempted murder. They must admit they hurt or killed another person, but only to prevent being hurt or killed. Take note, though, that when you claim self-defense, it will be up to the jury to determine if your actions were justified according to state laws.
They will be given instructions that explain all the elements of self-defense that must be proven for your self-defense claim to succeed. The jury will acquit you of the charges if you successfully prove your self-defense claim.
Consult With a Seasoned South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you have been charged with a violent crime, such as assault or domestic violence, but you committed the crime because you were defending yourself, another person, or your property, contact the South Carolina criminal defense lawyer at The Law Office of Brad C. Richardson, LLC, as soon as possible. They will investigate your case to determine whether your use of self-defense was lawful, given the circumstances of your situation.
Reach us online or call us to arrange your free case evaluation with our South Carolina criminal defense lawyer.