The Atlanta Journal Constitution ran a piece last week pointing to recent incidences of Atlanta and surrounding area residents fighting back against would-be robbers and attackers with their own guns. In most cases like these, the would-be victim won’t face criminal charges; after all they are acting in self defense.
There’s a story of a knife-wielding attacker being shot in the head of a grocery store parking lot, a tattooist shooting one and scaring off two other intruders, a DeKalb homeowner shooting two burglars, and a Stone Mountain barber shooting two burglars and holding one at gun point until the police arrived.
Many of these are stories of simple self defense. If you are defending yourself from an unlawful attack, you can do what’s reasonably necessary to defend yourself. In most cases no charges would be filed. No charges were filed in any of the above examples, for instance.
Gun rights activists are pleased when they hear stories like this, using such criminal behavior curtailed to bolster their arguments that guns can save the lives of the law abiding while putting others at risk. Some, however, argue that gun owners aren’t always responsible gun handlers and that the risk for harm is greater than the opportunity to take down “bad guys”.
In most cases of self defense, charges are never filed. However, in some cases, you might be criminally charged for assault, for example, and be required to defend yourself against the charges in court.
Claiming self defense is something that can be done at the trial level and before when you are faced with criminal charges. A local defense attorney can assist you in determining if such a defense strategy might be appropriate in your case.
If someone attacks you, you can’t be expected to sit idly by. Under the law you can defend yourself with a reasonable amount of resistance. What this means is if someone acted like they were going to shove you and made an approach, it might not be considered “reasonable” to shoot them. And if an intruder is in your home, your legitimate defense options may be even broader under the castle doctrine. However, less dramatic actions may be appropriate under self defense.
You could be facing several years in prison and a criminal record for charges like assault and battery. A conviction like this can haunt you for years to come.
If you’re facing charges of assault and you acted in self defense, a criminal defense attorney could offer assistance. Contact our offices today for a free consultation on your case.